October 21, 2018

Winnipeg
1° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Opinion

A feminist can be Ghomeshi's lawyer

Henein is above caring about the backlash

Darren Calabrese / The Canadian Press files</p><p>Marie Henein, criminal defence lawyer for CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi, is surrounded by media while arriving at court in Toronto on Thursday, February 26, 2015.</p>

Darren Calabrese / The Canadian Press files

Marie Henein, criminal defence lawyer for CBC Radio host Jian Ghomeshi, is surrounded by media while arriving at court in Toronto on Thursday, February 26, 2015.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/3/2016 (934 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

‘Marie Henein is my idol.”

“Marie Henein is heinous.”

Those tweets appeared back to back when I searched for Henein’s name on Twitter, and they perfectly capture the divisiveness of the lawyer who had the unenviable task of defending Jian Ghomeshi.

It’s easy to see why she both attracts and repels, and why she’s been a subject of much discussion — high-profile case and client aside. On her own, she’s a fascinating figure: intimidating, powerful, intelligent, accomplished, tough. She’s been idolized and glamourized, perhaps most visibly via a sumptuous Toronto Life feature. She’s also been villainized for her “betrayal of women,” a feminist defending an alleged abuser to a chorus of accusatory ‘how could yous?’

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 60 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 60 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 60 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 30/3/2016 (934 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

‘Marie Henein is my idol."

"Marie Henein is heinous."

Those tweets appeared back to back when I searched for Henein’s name on Twitter, and they perfectly capture the divisiveness of the lawyer who had the unenviable task of defending Jian Ghomeshi.

It’s easy to see why she both attracts and repels, and why she’s been a subject of much discussion — high-profile case and client aside. On her own, she’s a fascinating figure: intimidating, powerful, intelligent, accomplished, tough. She’s been idolized and glamourized, perhaps most visibly via a sumptuous Toronto Life feature. She’s also been villainized for her "betrayal of women," a feminist defending an alleged abuser to a chorus of accusatory ‘how could yous?’

Well, she could because that’s her job: to defend those who need defending, no matter who those people are. And on Tuesday night, she defended herself — and, more broadly, the criminal justice system — in an interesting but rather unnecessary one-on-one with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge. 

Henein patiently answered his questions, but her eyes said "I’m over this." Yes, she believes in our justice system. No, she does not believe she betrayed her gender. Yes, she is a feminist. (She also seems to really hate Twitter.) 

The charge that Henein somehow "betrayed her gender" by doing her job is puzzling. Marie Henein is a feminist. Marie Henein is a defence lawyer who often goes to bat for bad men. Those identities can co-exist, however uncomfortably and incongruously they might appear. You can disagree with her old-school cross-examination tactics and you can criticize the way our current criminal justice system deals (or doesn’t deal) with sexual assault cases. I certainly did in last week’s column, and I still do. But misdirecting rage and frustration with our current criminal justice system toward Henein doesn’t accomplish much. It certainly doesn’t change that system. In other words, hate the game, not the player.

To be sure, it’s deeply disorienting to watch a woman (a feminist!) ruthlessly rip holes in another’s credibility. Even if that’s, as it’s been repeated over and over again, that woman’s job. And it’s deeply disorienting to hear a woman (a feminist!) talk on national TV about how hard the process is on the accused.

I understand wanting desperately for those players — especially influential, powerful players — to be the ones who change the game, especially when the game seems hopelessly rigged. I also believe we tend to expect all women who reach a certain status to be pioneers, to make it better for the rest of us. And we expect that from women in positions of power in a way we don’t expect it from men. As though women "should know better." It’s hard to a imagine a scenario in which a male defence lawyer would have to sit down with Mansbridge and defend himself. 

I understand, too, why people see Henein as a role model, and a feminist one at that. Here is a woman of colour in a position of power. Here is a woman who is very clear on who she is and what her beliefs are, as she repeated in the Mansbridge interview. Here is a woman who is unapologetic. Here is a woman who takes charge and takes up space. Here is a woman who doesn’t care what you think about her.

As she told Mansbridge, "I’m not about to send myself back in the kitchen because somebody doesn’t like what I do." 

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @JenZoratti

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti
Columnist

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

History

Updated on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 at 8:20 PM CDT: Headline fix

March 31, 2016 at 11:59 AM: Typo fixed.

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us