MONTREAL — A popular Quebec media personality who is facing an array of sexual misconduct allegations took a leave from his professional activities Wednesday as employers and clients distanced themselves from him.
Eric Salvail said in a Facebook post he'll take a few days to take stock after Montreal 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.
Ten of them came forward under the condition of anonymity and described sexual harassment, inappropriate or sexual touching and unwanted comments. The producer and talk show host also allegedly exposed himself.
The alleged conduct spanned a 15-year period.
The one person who did agree to having his name published was hair and makeup artist Marco Berardini, who took to Twitter on Wednesday after telling La Presse about alleged unwanted touching and harassment.
He said he went public after dozens of women spoke out against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of rape and harassment.
He thanked actress Rose McGowan in particular for giving him the strength to come forward.
"Sexual assault can happen to all genders and it has to stop!,'' wrote Berardini, a Montreal native and Los Angeles-based artist.
Just hours after the story appeared, Salvail said in a statement on his Facebook page he was "deeply shaken'' by the allegations.
"I approach this situation with a great deal of empathy for all those to whom I could have caused discomfort or any form of prejudice,'' he wrote in French. "I never intended to upset anyone.''
Salvail, 48, said he has the support of family, colleagues and his spouse.
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The allegations have cost him various endorsements — advertisements with grocery chain Metro Inc. have been suspended, while tour company Transat A.T. Inc dropped his appearance for a contest bearing his name while maintaining the promotion out of respect for participants.
Salvail, who has his own TV production company, is also a well known media figure with his own show on Groupe V Media as well as being a staple on afternoon radio in the province.
Groupe V Media suspended his show "En mode Salvail'' for an undetermined period and removed reference to it from its website Wednesday.
"Groupe V Media is also evaluating its business relationship with the Salvail & Co. production company,'' the network said, adding it won't comment further.
The webpage for his "Eric et les Fantastiques'' radio show on Bell Media-owned Rouge FM also disappeared.
Salvail has been suspended from his role on the show, which will be replaced until further notice.
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