Friday saw the release of a statement from a woman accusing Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of groping her at a music festival in the summer of 2000. Hours later, Trudeau responded to the statement during a press conference in Calgary, Alberta.
Rose Knight issued the following statement on Friday:
I issue this statement regarding the now much reported involving Justin Trudeau at the August 2000 Creston Music Festival (“Incident”).
This is a personal statement. I represent no organization, no media outlet and no movements, whether political or otherwise. I do not intend to issue any further statements or participate in any interviews.
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 (“Editorial”). I was a reporter for the Creston Valley Advance from 1999 through 2001. I was assigned to cover the August 2000 Creston Music Festival by my employer and was the report referred to in the Editorial.
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.
I enjoyed my career as a reporter, but it ended a long time ago. I avoided issuing a statement earlier out of concern for my and my family’s privacy. Beyond this statement I will not be providing any further details or information. The debate, if it continues, will continue without my involvement.
Trudeau responded to Knight’s statement later on Friday:
Obviously, over the past weeks, since this news resurfaced, I’ve been reflecting on past behaviors, and as I’ve said … I’m confident that I did not act inappropriately but I think the essence of this is that people can experience interactions differently, and part of the lesson we need to learn in this time of collective awakening is a level of respect and understanding for the fact that people – in many cases, women – experience interactions in professional contexts and other contexts differently than men. I apologized in the moment because I had obviously perceived that she had experienced it in a different way than I acted or I experienced it and I think this reflection, as we move forward, needs to continue in our communities, in our places of power, [and] in our places of work.
There is an awakening going on, and we need to take opportunities to continue to reflect on that. This is something I’ve been involved in for well over 20 years, in my student activism and in the outreach that I’ve done, and there’s always more to do and more to reflect on.
As I’ve said from the very beginning, I would never presume to speak for her or to have a perspective on how she should feel or should act on this. I respect very much her right and her ability to make choices about what is best for her and her family, and I obviously will continue to stand as a defender of understanding and respect for individuals and the experiences they go through.
Trudeau supports “feminist” politics and rhetoric. As Breitbart News reported:
Trudeau, a champion of the #MeToo movement, penned an essay in 2017 urging parents to raise their boys as feminists.
“Our sons have the power and the responsibility to change our culture of sexism,” Trudeau wrote, adding, “Our sons have the power and the responsibility to change our culture of sexism.”
The 43-year-old leader unveiled a federal “gender equity” budget in February to reduce the pay gap between men and women.
Amid tense negotiations with the U.S. on NAFTA and tariffs, Trudeau plans to make gender equality a “top priority” at the G7 leaders’ summit in Quebec this week.
Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter.