Justin Trudeau has publicly addressed allegations that he groped a reporter at an event 18 years ago, saying he does not recall any “negative interactions” taking place that day.
The allegation has dominated political discussion in Canada in recent days after it was highlighted by a blogger last month.
At the time, Trudeau was a 28-year-old teacher and had been attending a music festival sponsored by a beer company in British Columbia. The festival was raising money to support avalanche safety, a cause Trudeau had become involved with after his brother Michel died in an avalanche in 1998.
Days after the event, an unsigned editorial appeared in the Creston Valley Advance, a local newspaper, accusing Trudeau of “groping” and “inappropriately handling” an unnamed female reporter who was covering the event.
While the editorial offered no specifics on what had happened, it claimed the woman felt “blatantly disrespected” and Trudeau had apologised for his behaviour. “I’m sorry,” the editorial alleged Trudeau to have said. “If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward.”
On Sunday, Trudeau was asked about the allegations for the first time since becoming Canadian prime minister.
“I remember that day in Creston well,” he told reporters. “I had a good day that day. I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all.”
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SOURCE: The Guardian, Ashifa Kassam