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Isn't politics supposed to be show business for UGLY PEOPLE?

by Andrew Douglas
Isn't politics supposed to be show business for UGLY PEOPLE?

Nothing like taking a moment on a quiet Victoria Day Monday at the Frank bunker to clean out the 'ol email inbox.

Re-reading some emails sent to me by Dartmouth South PC-turned-Independent candidate Jad Crnogorac's campaign manager Jillian Blackman, it's clear this material belongs on frankmagazine.ca for all to see.

There's lots of interesting bits and bobs in here, but Jillian's pithy take on what was behind the PC's ouster of candidate Jad stands out.

"This was an opportunity for Jamie Baillie to once again look like the hero for standing up for women," the former Halifax Rainmen mouthpuppet tells me at one point.

Have truer words ever been spoken? It's Jamie Baillie's entire political career in a nutshell, is what it is. If you're a member of a large bloc of voters - teachers, nurses, film industry toilers, women - Jamie desperately wants to be your hero. But in L'Affaire de Jad, he and the party come off looking like anything but.

From campaign co-chair Janet Fryday-Dorey's panicked insistence that Jad remove a photograph from Instagram that (gasp!) is sexy as hell - you can almost hear her scold, "didn't you know that politics is supposed to be show business for ugly people?" - to how the party treated her after the Frank 766 cover story hit newstands, Jamie and the party come off looking like Nova Scotia good 'ol boys from three generations ago. Hardly what most women look at as heroic these days.

Below is an April 22 email exchange, and one voicemail message, between Jad and Janet Fryday-Dorey forwarded to me by Jillian regarding that PG-13 rated Instagram picture. Below that is an explanatory email sent to me from Jillian Blackman on May 17, just a few hours before Jad made the decision to run as an Independent against longtime Liberal party volunteer Vishal Bhardwaj and N-Dipper lawyer Claudia Chender. As you likely recall, the NDP incumbent Marian Mancini opted not to re-offer. 

andrew@frankmagazine.ca

 

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11:51 am, April 22

From: Janet Fryday-Dorey

To: Jillian Blackman

Hi

Can you please get this down asap?

Thanks

Jfd

 

Voicemail, 11:59 am, April 22

Hi Jad, it's Janet Fryday Dorey, I'm co-chair of the PC campaign. Look, there's a picture on Instagram that is gonna have to come down. I think it's an older picture, it's a picture of you with a black, or dark brown leather jacket, um, and, you don't have anything on underneath it. Y'know, Frank Magazine'll get ahold of that picture and that'll be a story for the campaign that we don't need. Um, you can reach me at 902-240-9366. But, and I'll flip you an email with the picture in it. But it needs to come down as soon as possible. Sorry that this is our first little chat. Okay, thanks, bye.

 

12:02 pm, April 22

From: Janet Fryday-Dorey

To: Jad Crnogorac

Hi Jad

As per my voice‑mail can you please take the photo down?

Thanks

Janet Fryday Dorey

 

 

4:38, April 22

From: Jad Crnogorac

To: Janet Fryday-Dorey

Hi Janet

I appreciate your email regarding my Instagram picture. I appreciate your point of view I really do, and completely understand why this picture of me could cause some controversy .  However I have been reading a lot of what Jamie has been pushing speaking about ‑ the PC PARTY becoming more progressive. I feel that taking down this picture of myself would not reflect on that statement or movement. I work extremely hard every single day and I'm very proud of who I am inside and out. I'm a smart healthy strong, and fit woman and this is my job as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. The picture has been up for over a year and a half and I feel to take it down I am hiding who I am and my identity. If the party feels strongly against me keeping it up then I will take it down.

Sincerely Jad

 

4:44, April 22

From: Janet Fryday-Dorey

To: Jad Crnogorac

Hi Jad

Please take it down.   We can chat about it at another time.   During the campaign that picture will show up on social media and it will hurt you and Jamie. I am sorry that this is our first encounter.  But what I want is to get you elected and make Jamie Premier!!!

Thanks

 

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May 17

From: Jillian Blackman

To: Frank Magazine

The relations between Jad and the PC office were never exactly fantastic. She never felt fully welcomed by the party, and they waited until the last minute to nominate her hoping someone else in Dartmouth South would come forward and that it would be contested for "good publicity".

Throughout her experience, Jad had received more than one request to remove photos of herself online and was made to feel her image would be a problem for them if it wasn't controlled. From the moment she was recruited she was adamant that she wasn't willing to change or hide who she was ‑ in fact, the first question she asked them was "have you seen my Instagram?" She gave them full access to her online profile so they could vet it and decide whether or not she was a suitable candidate. They decided she was.

Prior to the Frank article coming out, Jad was pulled to the front of the crowd at press conferences to stand behind Jamie, because: "Jamie needs hot PC women standing behind him!" (their words, not mine). After the spread came out, Jad was no longer brought to the front of the crowd at press conferences.

It was after the spread came out that things truly fell radio silent. No one who had expressed their concerns about the images said anything to Jad. The only comment that was made was from Paula Henderson ‑ who works in the field and was a pleasure to deal with. She said she felt the article was fair and okay. Paula was not someone who wanted Jad to change who she was and was very supportive to both of us.

Two weeks after the issue hit the stands, Jad saw Jamie at a press conference. During this encounter, Jamie said he purchased the magazine to explain to his daughters that although Jad's body was profiled and was the main topic of the article, she was a wonderful, smart, strong person who had good ideas and deserved respect. Prior to this encounter, Jad was left feeling her body and image had caused the party a major issue (as per Janet's voicemail and emails). Not one senior campaign staffer reached out to her to offer support or guidance through the "issue".

It was post‑Frank article that Jad's repeated requests for campaign assistance (her original campaign manager had to step down for health reasons) were essentially ignored. Jamie repeatedly promised her help to assist in filling the gap that was left and it was never sent.

I'm not entirely convinced that the PC Party needed ammunition to drop Jad and went to Twitter, because quite frankly, I don't think they're that smart. I believe someone brought (Jad's tweets) to their attention and it was a knee‑jerk reaction. I think this was an opportunity for Jamie to once again look like the hero for standing up for women and gave them an opportunity to drop the "hot PC woman" who was causing them problems by being proud of her body and owning it in the online space.

While Jamie provided Matt an opportunity to explain himself so they could understand he did not mean any harm with his silly online antics, the same courtesy was not extended to Jad. We also have to question why he has not dropped Dan McNaughton. It's unfortunate, because as you can see, she's a fighter and would have made a great MLA. She simply was not provided the same opportunity as her male counterparts to provide an explanation for her behavior.

Jamie claims her rape joke/tweet was inexcusable. If she was such a fantastic woman as he had previously claimed to her face and to his daughters, why did she not deserve a phone call to say "Jad, this doesn't sound like something you would say, what were you thinking?" Had he done that, he would have learned the entire story behind the short tweet and learned that she DID NOT make a joke about rape and roofies. Her co‑worker, a man in his mid‑40s GENUINELY believed a roofie was female Viagra. Her tweet was retelling the story in less than 140 characters and laughing in disbelief that anyone could actually think that. Unfortunately, as I said, she was not provided the same courtesy as Whitman and  McNaugton who are white men who have participated in blatantly racist and questionable behavior, and was turfed right away. Jamie is on the circuit saying the Jad and Matt situation is apples to oranges ‑ the only apples to oranges we can see is hot, progressive woman vs political white dude. Other than that, questionable, off‑colour behavior is just that and if Matt was given a chance to explain, Jad should have been as well. Matt is seen as being a stronger candidate, has been protected by the old boys club, and was provided an opportunity to explain himself while Jad was not. 

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