OTTAWA - A former journalist broke her silence on Friday to stand by her allegation that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau groped her nearly two decades ago.
“I issue this statement reluctantly, in response to mounting media pressure to confirm that I was the reporter who was the subject of the Open Eyes editorial, published in the Creston Valley Advance in August of 2000,” Rose Knight said in a statement to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
She was referring to the original Canadian report on the allegation, which said that Trudeau, who was 28 at the time and not involved in politics, had apologized to the reporter in question.
In that story he was also quoted as saying “I would never have been so forward” had he known she was a reporter.
“The incident referred to in the editorial did occur, as reported. Mr. Trudeau did apologize the next day. I did not pursue the incident at the time and will not be pursuing the incident further. I have had no subsequent contact with Mr. Trudeau, before or after he became prime minister,” said Knight.
Knight said she will not be commenting further on the issue, according to CBC.
The statement came a day after avowed feminist Trudeau again defended himself against the allegation that he had groped a journalist during a music festival in the western British Columbia city of Creston in 2000.
“I do not feel that I acted inappropriately in any way, but I respect the fact that someone else might have experienced that differently,” said Trudeau.
Trudeau was asked whether he intended to open an investigation into the issue, given his party’s policy of zero tolerance on sexual assault.
He did not respond to that question directly, but repeated several times that he does not believe he acted inappropriately.
Trudeau also stressed that “it’s not just one side that matters” in such cases and that society should reflect on this issue.
“Often a man experiences an interaction as being benign or not inappropriate and a woman, particularly in a professional context, can experience it differently. We have to respect that,” he said.
When he came to power, Trudeau formed a Cabinet with an equal division between men and women.