After weeks of speculation and a few awkward responses from the prime minister, we now know who accused Justin Trudeau of groping at a British Columbia music festival in 2000.
Former Creston Valley Advance reporter Rose Knight released a statement Friday afternoon confirming she was the target of the much-debated incident, which she says did happen and was reported accurately by her former employer. The statement does not reveal any new details about what happened on that day.
“I issue this statement reluctantly, in response to 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 of 2000,” reads part of the statement.
The “Open Eyes” editorial alleged Trudeau had apologized to one of the paper’s reporters after “groping” her at the event. It also claimed the future prime minister told the reporter he would not have “been so forward” if he had known she was working for a national newspaper.
“The incident referred to in the editorial did occur, as reported,” reads Knight’s statement. “Mr. Trudeau did apologize 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.”
Knight was a reporter at the Advance from 1999 to 2001. She said she avoided releasing a statement earlier out of concern for her family’s privacy.
Trudeau has been widely criticized for the disconnect between his feminist political stance and his weak response to the 18-year-old allegation. After saying he “doesn’t remember any negative interactions” earlier this week, he offered a more thorough account Thursday.
“I’m responsible for my side of the interaction, which certainly I don’t feel was in any way untoward,” he told reporters. “But at the same time, this lesson that we are learning is, and I’ll be blunt about it, often a man experiences an interaction as being benign or not inappropriate, and a woman, particularly in a professional context, can experience it differently, and we have to respect that and reflect on it.”
Knight said she would not be making any more comments about the groping allegation. “The debate, if it continues, will continue without my involvement.”
Follow Sarah on Twitter.