An editorial published in Creston Valley Advance in June, alleged that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau groped a reporter at a music festival in British Columbia in 2000.
In the editorial, believed to be written by the reporter identified as Rose Knight, Knight felt “blatantly disrespected”. The editorial also alleged that Trudeau, after the incident said: “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.”
Knight has said that she’ll not pursue the incident further. Her statement comes a day after Trudeau noted that the had apologised and said he was very confident he did not act inappropriately.
“The incident referred to in the editorial did occur, as reported. Mr Trudeau did apologise the next day,” The Guardian quoted Knight as saying.
Knight, in a statement said: “I did not pursue the incident at the time and will not be pursuing the incident further. The debate, if it continues, will continue without my involvement,” adding that she refrained from speaking on the matter initially to protect her and her family’s privacy.
Trudeau had earlier told reporters he did not remember any “negative interactions” but on Thursday, stated that he had apologised.
Addressing the issue, Trudeau said: “I’ve been reflecting very carefully on what I remember from that incident almost 20 years ago. I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way. But I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently.”
On why he apologised to Knight, Trudeau said: “If I apologised later, it would be because I sensed that she was not entirely comfortable with the interaction that we had,” adding that he “apologised in the moment.”
Trudeau said the allegation is part of an “awakening” going on in the society. Trudeau added:
I don’t want to speak for her, I don’t want to presume how she feels now. I’m responsible for my side of the interaction, which certainly – as I said – I don’t feel was in anyway untoward.
But at the same time, this lesson that we are learning – and I’ll be blunt about it – often a man experiences an interaction as being benign, or not inappropriate, and a woman, particularly in a professional context can experience it differently. And we have to respect that, and reflect on it.
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