October, 31, 1999
By now you will have read, or heard of, the incredible news. The B.C. Human Rights Inquisition found UBC professor Don Dutton guilty of sexual harassment, and fined him in excess of $12,000 in compensation. Of course, he’s appealing.
Those who remember my columns of March 29 and April 12 last year will recall my view that the complainant, Fariba Mahmoodi, should have been the one on trial for extortion, harassment and character assassination, but then Mahmoodi is a female visible minority, which means she couldn’t lose, even though her claim was demonstrably fraudulent.
To get an idea of just how deeply the fix is in, and why the entire human rights apparat must be legislated out of existence, let me walk you through a few of the paragraphs of Frances Gordon’s tortured reasoning.
In paragraph 230 of her judgment, Gordon wrote: “I find that Dutton’s sole aim was the justification of his own personal and sexual interests in Mahmoodi.” At the end of paragraph 242, where she concludes that Dutton sexually harassed Mahmoodi, she wrote: “The sexual harassment is not based on the sexual touching as alleged by Mahmoodi, as it was not established by the evidence.”
Gordon imputes motive then states it never happened. No evidence, no guilt—that’s how the law works, but remember: a human rights tribunal has precious little to do with law. Gordon was determined to find Dutton guilty, even if she had to manufacture guilt out of thin air, which is what she did. Earlier in paragraph 242, she wrote: “The sexual harassment was in the form of the imposition of a sexualized environment consisting of seductive music, low lighting, candles, a burning fireplace, dinner, wine, a gift, rides home and personal and intimate conversation.”
“Sexualized environment” is utterly subjective. “If it had been my mother-in-law it would have been exactly the same,” said Dutton. In fact, Gordon can’t get her Newspeak straight. In paragraph 223 she called the environment “romantically charged,” which is no less presumptuous. Anyway, “environment” is irrelevant to the claim of physical harassment, for which Gordon concedes there is no evidence.
However, there is evidence to suggest that Mahmoodi fabricated the entire affair. She told her lawyer that the “harassment” took place during a 16-minute span at least 30 minutes before she left Dutton’s house. In a written statement, Mahmoodi wrote, in graphic detail, that the “harassment” occurred at the end of the evening, after which Dutton drove her home.
This case should have been dismissed as vexatious, but under the new Human Rights Code the pertinent section was repealed because it was deemed to be insulting and disrespectful toward those who had no evidence to support their claims of sexual harassment.
Gordon helped convict Dutton by prejudicing his defence. In paragraph 68, Dutton said the testimony of Mahmoodi’s brother Ahmed, was edited to leave out evidence that would have helped him. Consequently, we don’t learn that Ahmed Mahmoodi said his sister was not upset when she returned home that night; but, more importantly, she did become upset three months later after Dutton asked the UBC RCMP to investigate her for blackmail.
Gordon also threw out corroborating testimony about Mahmoodi’s manipulative behaviour from Prof. James Steiger because she felt it wasn’t relevant to Dutton’s case. I’ll let you be the judge. In a Sept. 9, 1995, letter to Dutton’s lawyer, Steiger described how Mahmoodi tried to browbeat him into giving her a passing grade:
“Despite her truly dismal performance [in Psychology 317] Mahmoodi seemed unable to accept failure… She seemed to feel that grades could be changed at an instructor’s whim, and that I really had total freedom to give her any grade I wished. She harassed me and threatened me on several occasions after receiving the grade. She was alternately tearful and abusive. At times she appeared desperate. In addition, on one occasion, she brought with her a young man who glared menacingly at me from the hallway. I never learned his identity. Mahmoodi’s behaviour caused me very substantial stress… I was genuinely concerned, on the basis of her erratic behaviour, that Mahmoodi might be unstable, even violent.”
I can only surmise that Gordon, like Mahmoodi, could not accept failure, for clearly this testimony utterly impeaches Mahmoodi’s case. The threats against Steiger are directly analogous to those against Dutton, and Gordon had no business disallowing them. If you’re wondering how such a perversity could take place, paragraph 137 has the answer: “Normal sexual or social activity may become sexual harassment where a power differential exists between the participants.”
This, of course, is the familiar sort of crap feminists trot out to reinforce the cult of woman-as-victim, and to absolve women of being in any way responsible for their actions. It also assumes that women are bubble-heads who can’t think for themselves, but then who said feminism and women’s right were congruent?
For our purposes, paragraph 137 proves that Dutton was presumed guilty before the tribunal sat—Dutton is a male professor; Mahmoodi is a female grad school wannabe. It is a categorical, a priori assignment of blame utterly unrelated to any consideration of fact or evidence. It is a declaration of prejudice, and prejudice is what convicted Dutton.
It didn’t matter that Mahmoodi’s evidence was hogwash. All Gordon had to do was find a way to deny it, discredit it or minimize it so that she could uphold the Inquisition’s feminist-driven ideology. This logical contortion must have taken much effort, because it took her 17 months to render a decision, which can only be called corrupt.
In an earlier column I coined the maxim: “Injustice doesn’t just happen; it’s allowed to happen.” This case proves it. But let’s go a step further; let’s ask what our useless, careerist attorney general has been doing for the past four years. Whenever there’s a photo op or announcement about ethnic happy talk or women’s rights, there’s Ujjal Dosanjh, front and centre, spouting fatuous feel-good pieties. Meanwhile, real rights violations go on under his nose. “Human rights” is a fraud. The human rights apparat is a cancer on our democracy, and must be surgically removed, root and branch.
Gordon Campbell, are you listening?