Justin Trudeau speaks out on allegations he groped a journalist at a festival
The great outpouring of sexual harassment and assault allegations show no sign of slowing down. Ever since The New York Times published their explosive exposé chronicling film producer Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual misconduct, more and more claims have been lobbied against influential men such as Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner, Louis CK and photographer, Terry Richardson.
Now, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has publicly responded to allegations that he groped a female journalist 18 years ago.
Trudeau, who has previously asserted that he has a zero tolerance policy for sexual misconduct, was questioned about allegations that he groped a female journalist 18 years ago during a three-day tour to celebrate Canada day.
Speaking to reporters, the Prime Minister, who has been in office since 2015, stated "I remember that day well, it was an Avalanche Foundation event to support avalanche safety. I had a good day that day. I don't remember any negative interactions that day at all."
The claim first appeared on the 4th August 2000, in an editorial published in the Creston Valley Advance newspaper, shortly after the Kokanee Summit Festival in Creston, British Columbia. Trudeau, who was then a 28-year-old teacher, was quoted in the article as telling the female reporter "I'm sorry, if I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward."
The editorial accordingly questioned, "Shouldn't the son of a former prime minister be aware of the rights and wrongs that go along with public socialising? Didn't he learn, through his vast experiences in public life, that groping a strange young woman isn't in the handbook of proper etiquette, regardless of who she is, what her business is or where they are?'
The journalist who accused the 46-year-old of groping her has since informed CBC that she is not interested in speaking publicly about her assertion, and has also requested not to be identified.
Valerie Bourne, a former publisher of the Creston Valley Advance, stated "My recollections of the conversation were that she came to me because she was unsettled by it. She didn't like what had happened. She wasn't sure how she should proceed with it because of course we're talking somebody who was known to the Canadian community. I would not classify it or qualify it as sexual assault."
Trudeau has not only been praised for his efforts to promote gender equality, but for his commitment to championing feminism within his own family and beyond. As well as suspending two Liberal MPs over allegations of sexual misconduct, he has described sexual harassment as a "systemic problem", and written about raising his children to be feminists.
In an official statement, his administration said "He has always been very careful to treat everyone with respect. his first experiences with activism were on the issue of sexual assault at McGill (university) and he knows the importance of being thoughtful and respectful.