NEWS

Gilbert Rozon Steps Down As Head Of Just For Laughs Comedy Festival

One of the alleged victims was a minor.

10/18/2017 22:01 EDT | Updated 10/19/2017 10:13 EDT
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Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon attends the comedy festival on July 28, 2017 in Montreal.

The founder of Just For Laughs announced that he was stepping down from that post as well as several others — shortly before a story featuring allegations of sexual assault and harassment from nine women was published.

Gilbert Rozon, 62, resigned from the comedy festival, as well as from positions as commissioner for the 375th Montreal anniversary celebrations and vice-president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

"I withdraw out of respect for employees and families who work for these organizations and all our partners," Rozon said in a Facebook post in French on Wednesday. "I do not want to overshadow them."

He added: "To all those I have offended in my life, I am sincerely sorry."

Trigger warning: graphic details

A few hours later, Le Devoir published claims of sexual misconduct from several women, including some well-known entertainment personalities.

Actress Salome Corbo alleged that Rozon assaulted her in 1990 when she was 14 years old. In the Le Devoir story, she said that Rozon grabbed her at a festival party and put a finger in her vagina.

"I'm 14, I'm 14, I'm a girl," she recalled trying to say loudly in the hopes that people would hear her and react. But no one did, she said.

Denis Beaumont/Canadian Press
Salome Corbo, seen at the Les Prix Gemeaux awards in Montreal on Sept. 20, 2015, alleges that Gilbert Rozon assaulted her when she was a minor.

Entrepreneur Geneviève Allard met Rozon on a TV show similar to "Dragon's Den," where he acted as a business mentor. She alleges that after he escorted her home from a restaurant in 2016, she woke up to find him raping her.

Director Lyne Charlebois told Le Devoir that Rozon allegedly attacked her in 1982 — after he had dinner with Charlebois and her boyfriend.

TVA reported on Wednesday that the Montreal police have opened an investigation into an alleged sex assault in Paris in 1994.

Rozon has not responded publicly to any of the allegations, other than his Facebook post announcing his resignations.

More from HuffPost Canada:


Previous charges


In 1998, Rozon pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a young woman, said the outlet.

The Toronto Star also reported that police withdrew a charge of unlawful confinement against Rozon involving a 31-year-old woman due to a lack of evidence.

Rozon's resignation came on the same day that popular Quebec radio host Eric Salvail faced an array of sexual misconduct allegations. La Presse published a story with allegations from 11 people who said he either sexually harassed them or that they witnessed such behaviour in his presence.

Comedian Guillaume Wagner shared his own uncomfortable experiences with Salvail in a Facebook post — then went on to call Rozon an "aggressor" on Wednesday.

"I won't work for Just For Laughs so long as an aggressor is the boss," Wagner alleged in French.

With files from The Canadian Press