Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally addressed the groping accusation made by a female reporter against him.
Talking to reporters, Trudeau said he did apologize to the woman but still insisted he was not at fault.
However, when he first addressed the accusations he said he “did not remember” any such interactions but conceded to apologizing to the woman in his latest comments.
“I've been reflecting very carefully on what I remember from that incident almost 20 years ago and, again, I feel, I am confident, I did not act inappropriately,” Trudeau said.
“If I apologized later then it would be because I sensed that she was not entirely comfortable with the interaction we had,” he said.
The Canadian PM was accused of sexual misconduct when an article from the August 2000 resurfaced.
According to an editorial published in British Columbia community newspaper Creston Valley Advance, Trudeau, who was not a political figure at the time but was known for being the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, groped a young female reporter at Kokanee Summit Music Festival put on by the Columbia Brewery.
Here is a slightly better quality image of an editorial in the August 14, 2000 Creston Valley Advance, a local B.C. paper, which claims Justin Trudeau apologized for "inappropriately handling" (or "groping" in the paper's words) a female reporter. pic.twitter.com/fZ748QqWYX— ?????????????????? (@sdbcraig) June 7, 2018
The reporter was there to cover an event not only for the Creston Valley Advance but also for the National Post and Vancouver Sun, reported Frank magazine.
According to the editorial, Trudeau later apologized to the woman.
“I’m sorry. If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I never would have been so forward,” he was quoted as saying.
“Shouldn't the son of a former prime minister be aware of the rights and wrongs that go along with public socializing?” read the article. “Didn't he learn, through his vast experiences in public life, that groping a strange young woman isn't in the handbook of proper etiquette, regardless of who she is, what her business is or where they are?”
Trudeau, who has touted himself a champion of women rights, had previously stated he was not worried about sexual allegations against him amid the rise of #MeToo movement.
“I've been very, very careful all my life to be thoughtful, to be respectful of people's space and people's headspace as well,” he told CBC Radio's “The House.”
He also said there is “no context in which someone doesn't have responsibility for things they've done in the past” and blasted the idea of sexual harassment just being “compliments” taken the wrong way.
“These are not just compliments that were taken wrong, or comments that could have meant nothing,” Trudeau said at the time. “There are situations in the cases that we're discussing these days that fundamentally made women unsafe in the work environment, unsure about themselves and truly affected their lives.”
However, when accused of such behavior himself, Trudeau’s actions drastically contradict his statements.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri