Just for Laughs founder charged with rape and indecent assault

Allegations of sexual misconduct against Canadian producer Gilbert Rozon surfaced last year in the wake of the #MeToo movement, said The Guardian.
Allegations of sexual misconduct against Canadian producer Gilbert Rozon surfaced last year in the wake of the #MeToo movement, said The Guardian.PHOTO: AFP

Gilbert Rozon, founder of the Just for Laughs comedy franchise, has been charged with rape and indecent assault.

On Wednesday (Dec 12), Quebec's director of criminal prosecutions announced the charges, which were related to incidents dating back to 1979 in Saint-Sauveur.

Both charges that were filed in court on Wednesday stem from the allegations of a single complainant, and the charges are based on criminal law in 1979, reported Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

Allegations of sexual misconduct against the 64-year-old Canadian entertainment magnate surfaced last year in the wake of the #MeToo movement, said The Guardian.

The Canadian department of criminal and penal prosecutions said that the complaints of 13 other women were found to be not viable for prosecution, but urged women not to be discouraged by that outcome.

It also said that the burden of proof for criminal prosecution was very high owing to 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," it added.

After the allegations were made last year, Rozon stepped down as the president of Just for Laughs and sold the comedy business. He quit his role as vice-president of the Montreal Chamber of Commerce.

He had also sat on the jury for France's Got Talent which was due to air on Oct 26, 2017, but the show was suspended by French TV station M6.

Rozon has denied the allegations and will appear in court on Jan 22, according to The Globe and Mail.