A group of protesters made their way to the Montreal courthouse to draw attention to sexual misconduct charges against Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon on International Women’s Day.
The Collectif 8 Mars, which represents more than 700,000 women across Quebec, waited outside the building where Rozon was scheduled to appear Friday morning.
“There is one man here who is accused of sexual assault,” said Gabrielle Bouchard, the president of collectif and the Fédération des femmes du Québec.
Rozon, 64, is facing one count of rape and one count of indecent assault from an alleged incident involving one victim dating back to 1979.
He was not present in court on Friday when his lawyer Pierre Poupart asked for the hearing to be postponed for a later date. The case will return to court on April 25.
While Rozon’s hearing was pushed back, those who attended the protest said it was important to support the alleged victim at the centre of the case.
“It’s important to support the victim and be there for them,” Audrey Antcil said. “And to show support that it concerns us.”
In October 2017, the giant in the Quebec entertainment industry stepped down from the company amid allegations of sexual assault and harassment. He has denied the allegations.
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Rozon is also facing a $10-million class-action lawsuit alleging that he abused at least 20 women between 1982 and 2016. In August 2018, the Quebec Court of Appeal allowed Rozon to appeal the decision authorizing the lawsuit. The appeal has not yet been heard.
Those in attendance said that while Rozon has become a symbol of the powerful people the Me Too movement has taken down, there is a long way to go in fighting for women’s rights and gender equality.
“All those issues of violence against women are not done,” Dominique Daigneault said. “We still have to fight in solidarity with all women who are victims of violence.”
— With files from Global’s Phil Carpenter and The Canadian Press