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Harvey Weinstein

Founder of Canada’s Just for Laughs comedy festival quits amid sexual harassment allegations

Gilbert Rozon made the announcement on his Facebook page on Wednesday night

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 10:32pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 October, 2017, 10:32pm

The founder of Canada’s comedy festival Just for Laughs, which draws celebrities including Trevor Noah, Sarah Silverman and Jerry Seinfeld, has resigned from his own company in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment.

Gilbert Rozon made the announcement on his Facebook page on Wednesday night. He is the latest entertainment executive to be accused of sexual harassment in the wake of accusations against US film producer Harvey Weinstein.

Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

“Shaken by the allegations against me, I wish to take time to reflect,” Rozon wrote.

He said he was “sincerely sorry” for “all the women and men I may have offended in the course of my life”.

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The company confirmed Rozon’s resignation and said an independent board of directors will be put in place. Spokesman Jean-David Pelletier declined to comment further.

Montreal newspaper Le Devoir on Thursday reported allegations by nine women who said they had been sexually harassed or abused by Rozon.

Rozon announced his immediate resignation from Just for Laughs, as well as his departure from the committee organising events to mark Montreal’s 375th anniversary this year and his role as vice-president of the Montreal Board of Trade.

Held every summer in Montreal, the comedy festival is one of the world’s largest and is a major tourist attraction for the city.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has made gender equality a significant part of the government’s focus, said society was “seeing a moment of awakening”.

“It’s unacceptable for anyone to feel insecure or harassed at work, at home, in the streets and I think people are beginning to get it,” Trudeau told reporters in Montreal.

“It doesn’t matter how much power you have, how much influence you have, it’s never all right.”

Amazon Studios chief Roy Price also resigned earlier this week following allegations he harassed a producer and took no action when an actress told him she was sexually assaulted by Weinstein.