Canadian Prime Minister and self-proclaimed feminist Justin Trudeau has been forced to address allegations he groped a young female reporter at a music festival in British Columbia in 2000.
The allegations first appeared in community paper The Creston Valley Advance in 2000, the Washington Post reports, then recently resurfaced after political commentator Warren Kinsella tweeted a picture of the article with the hashtag #MeToo.
The article, which has no byline, suggests that Trudeau, then a 28-year-old teacher, groped a reporter for the paper at the Kokanee Summit Festival and that she felt “blatantly disrespected.”
It also states that Trudeau later apologised for “inappropriately handling” her.
The publisher for the paper at the time has this week spoken to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp about her memories of the incident, The Guardian reports.
“My recollections of the conversation were that she [the reporter] came to me because she was unsettled by it,” Valerie Bourne said. “I certainly believe that it happened; this reporter was of a high character in my opinion and was professional in the way she conducted herself, and there’s no question in my mind that what was alluded to, written about in that editorial, did happen.”
But Trudeau denies the event.
“I remember that day in Creston well,” he told press this week. “It was an Avalanche Foundation event to support avalanche safety. I had a good day that day.”
“I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all,” he added.
According to the Washington Post, the Trudeau family had become actively involved with the Avalanche Foundation after Michael Trudeau, the Prime Minister’s brother, died in an avalanche in Kokanee, where the festival was held.