Are arrogant old creeps with an exalted sense of entitlement drawn to Olympic organizations because of the perks: a wide field of physically admirable and goal-oriented young women and men?
Slimy Marcel Aubut, ex-president of the Canadian Olympic Committee, is allegedly a long-time practitioner of a medieval tradition known as "le droit de cuissage". That term was revived in the French media following allegations against Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
And these actions (described in excruciating, crude detail in several media news items) were allegedly tolerated because Aubut is wealthy, a gregarious schmoozer (he's an habitué of grandiose sporting events such as Montréal's Grand Prix), politically well-connected, a successful fundraiser, etc. etc.
Doesn't that sound familiar: alleged habitual sexual harasser gets away with it because other men in the organization find it more beneficial to pretend it isn't happening. Women who speak up are told to deal, to be a "good sport" about it or to look for another job. Rarely is the problem fixed - that is, the harasser told to stop.
In case you thought his repellent actions were only directed at menial support staff members, it seems "good ol' boy" Marcel always rose to any "opportunity" in a skirt.
TVA reported that Aubut settled a sexual harassment claim at his law firm, Heenan Blaikie, in 2011, over groping, verbal harassment and inviting a woman into a room only to show up wearing boxer shorts. In La Presse, lawyer and Canadian Soccer Association board member Amelia Salehabadi-Fouques alleged Aubut forcibly kissed her in a restaurant, verbally harassed her, and tried to enter her hotel room, also in 2011.
It's been reported that COC did try to read the riot act to Aubut. Just as some un-neutered old dogs still try to hump just about anything in sight, some privileged old white men just can't stop playing their vile old patriarchal tricks.
Aubut's most recent peccadillo was a covert operation jiggered with Toronto Mayor John Tory as they colluded in trying to finagle an Olympic bid without the approbation of city council.
My co-blogger fern hill led the charge, writing and tweeting in support of #NoTO2024. Her trenchant blogposts on that issue are here.
But now, Aubut has *resigned*. I suspect he was given a spectacularly shiny golden handshake to speed him on his way. Hopefully the women who allegedly had to endure his groping, his greasy kisses and his disgusting salacious comments in the work environment were just as generously compensated.
Ha! Kidding! Unless they hired a lawyer to secure a financial agreement, the COC will give them nothing for the humiliation they suffered
Finally: remember that one woman got very angry, d'une crisse de sainte colère and officially filed a complaint about Aubut's actions. She was the tipping point, actually more than that:
“I hope people don’t lose sight of the strength it took for this lady to come forward, faced with a very, very powerful individual,” says Rudge. “And to have the courage to challenge what had gone on, and the courage of her convictions to follow through and get a resolution to an issue for many, many other women who weren’t in a position to come forward.”Note: the above blogpost was edited to judiciously add the words "alleged" and "allegedly". This does not cast doubt upon the women who recalled experiences of sexual harassment; it highlights the reality that these events have not been entered as evidence in a court of law ... yet.
That, as much as anything, is the underlying lesson in all this. Nobody truly challenged Marcel Aubut, until somebody did. If you’re looking for the Olympian in all this, there you go.