MONTREAL – A prominent Canadian producer, Gilbert Rozon, has announced he is resigning as head of Montreal’s 375th anniversary celebrations following accusations of sexual assault and harassment.
The allegations — from several women who said they were assaulted or harassed by Rozon — came as fallout continues in the case of disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, accused of decades of sexual abuse and harassment.
Rozon, who is also standing down as president of the Just for Laughs comedy festival and quitting his position as vice-president of the metropolitan Montreal Board of Trade, made the announcement via Facebook late on Wednesday.
“Shaken by the allegations against me, I want to dedicate all my time to review the matter,” Rozon wrote.
“To all those who I may have offended in my life, I’m sincerely sorry.”
Rozon wrote that he is resigning “out of respect for the employees and the families that work for these organizations as well as all our partners. I certainly don’t want to overshadow their activities.”
His announced came after Quebec humorist Guillaume Wagner publicly accused Rozon of being an “aggressor” following allegations from a number of women.
Wagner said that he was encouraged to speak out after another Quebec media personality, TV show host Eric Salvail, was suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct against him published Wednesday by the daily La Presse.
Montreal police have opened an investigation into an incident of sexual aggression involving Rozon that reportedly took place in Paris in 1994, Radio Canada reported.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre wrote on Twitter that he became aware “with dismay and disappointment … of the serious allegations of sexual misconduct” against Rozon.
He urged readers to let justice do its job, but made clear his support for “the men and women who decide to express themselves” concerning sexual abuse.
Rozon, 62, was the driving force behind Montreal’s annual Just for Laughs comedy festival. The event, which began in 1983, is said to be the world’s largest international comedy festival.
Montreal is holding a series of arts and music events to mark the anniversary of arrival of French settlers in May 1642.
The Weinstein revelations have encouraged women and their supporters around the world to speak up and denounce cases of sexual assault. — AFP