Reporter behind Justin Trudeau’s groping incident speaks up

By @chelean on
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 20, 2018.
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks to a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 20, 2018. Reuters/Chris Wattie

The woman behind Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s groping scandal has spoken up. Rose Knight is a former journalist who was allegedly groped by then-28-year-old Trudeau at the Kokanee Summit in 2000.

Last month, a political commentator tweeted a photo of an unsigned editorial in Creston Valley Advance. The write-up says Trudeau, who was a teacher then and not yet involved in politics, was inappropriate toward an unnamed young female reporter.

The journalist previously refused to be identified, but on Friday, Knight has come forward to give what appears to be her first and final statement about the incident. She told the CBC that the event described in the editorial happened, and that’s all that she was willing to divulge.

“I issue this statement reluctantly, in response to the 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 2000,” she said in a statement to the CBC.

“The incident referred to in the editorial did occur, as reported. Mr Trudeau did apologise 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.”

She continued, “The debate, if it continues, will continue without my involvement.”

Last week, Trudeau addressed the allegation twice. The first was done briefly. He claimed he did not recall any “negative interactions” on the aforementioned day. But a few days later, he again addressed the issue, saying he was “confident that I do not feel that I acted inappropriately” toward the woman. And if he apologised the next day, it was, he said, because he sensed that the reporter was not entirely comfortable with their interaction.

According to the paper, the young Trudeau said sorry to the reporter, but not because she felt uncomfortable. “I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward,” he allegedly said.

Knight was previously contacted by CBC to ask if she were interested in speaking up about the incident. She told the paper then that she did not want to be associated with the issue and had asked that her name not be used in reference to the story.