- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Just for Laughs comedy festival founder and former CEO Gilbert Rozon has been charged with rape and indecent assault stemming from offenses alleged to have taken place in 1979.
The criminal charges were unveiled Wednesday by Quebec’s director of criminal prosecutions and follow a #MeToo scandal at the Montreal festival that is known for helping Los Angeles talent scouts find talent for Hollywood movies and U.S. network shows.
According to the charges against Rozon, the offenses occurred between June and September 1979, in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec. The veteran Canadian impresario is set to appear in court in January to answer the twin charges.
In October 2017, Rozon announced he would sell his shares in Just for Laughs after being hit by allegations from 10 women that he sexually harassed or assaulted them. His exit was followed by Canadian media giant Bell Media, Montreal Canadiens owner Groupe CH, and ICM Partners and longtime client Howie Mandel banding together to acquire the Just for Laughs comedy group.
In addition, a Quebec judge in May 2018 allowed 20 women to bring a class-action lawsuit against Rozon for alleged rape and sexual harassment committed between 1982 and 2016. The province’s director of criminal prosecutions separately investigated complaints by 14 women against Rozon that also allegedly took place over two decades.
Quebec’s top prosecutor on Wednesday said the two criminal charges Rozon now faces stem from only one of the 14 complaints, and that the other 13 claims against Rozon were not judged to be viable for prosecution. “In criminal law, the burden of proof the prosecution must meet is very demanding,” the director of criminal prosecutions said a statement.
“Because of the presumption of innocence, the prosecution must effectively make a demonstration to the court of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt on the part of the accused,” the statement added.
The director of criminal prosecutions said it would make no further comments on the charges against Rozon, given the civil and criminal proceedings now in the works.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
‘Vanderpump Rules’ Star Raquel Leviss Plans to Drop Restraining Order Against Scheana Shay
Tony Shalhoub to Play Disgraced Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn in Michael Winterbottom TV Drama ‘Fall of the God of Cars’ for Fremantle
‘Daisy Jones & The Six’ Showrunners on Depicting Women in the ’70s, the Final Concert and That Hopeful Ending