Montreal

Just for Laughs Gags provides video contradicting harassment claim

Montreal's Just for Laughs Gags is denying allegations leveled against the show by a woman on social media, who complained she was harassed by a gardener as part of a joke gone wrong.

Comedy show denies having woman in La Fontaine Park sign waiver before prank

Just for Laughs: Gags, a Montreal-produced silent comedy, is aired in countries around the world. (Just for Laughs)

Montreal's Just for Laughs Gags has provided video contradicting allegations leveled against the popular comedy show by a woman on social media, who complained she was harassed by a man as part of one of its pranks.  

In a Facebook post, Livia Dallaire said she was tricked into signing a form and then approached by a man posing as a gardener, who called her beautiful and put his arm around her. 

There's nothing in the video, viewed by CBC and which Gags says is unedited, to indicate Dallaire signed a form before the prank or that the man ever put his arm around her. 

Dallaire posted her version of events in a lengthy post on Wednesday morning. The post was widely shared on social media and picked up by several media outlets, including CBC News.

When reached Thursday morning by email, Dallaire initially agreed to do a full interview about her experience but didn't follow through. She also hasn't returned a request for comment on the video.

Gilbert Rozon, the founder and president of Just for Laughs, disputed Dallaire's telling of the events. Rozon said the show never gets its subjects to sign a waiver before the prank takes place.

"It wouldn't make any sense," he said. "We ask people after if they agree."

In her post, Dallaire said she was approached by a woman who identified herself as a park employee and was looking to take photos of people for a new website.

According to her post, Dallaire replied that she had "time to spare" and wanted to help the park, so she signed a form allowing for the use of her image. Dallaire said she was told to sit on a park bench for the photos.

Gilbert Rozon, head of Just for Laughs, says the comedy show never gets its subjects to sign a waiver before its pranks. (Gilbert Rozon/Twitter)
The video shows Dallaire being led to a bench, but it does not show her signing a waiver at any point.

In the post, Dallaire says after the woman left to get a new memory card, a man posing as a city gardener approached her, telling she was a beautiful woman and that she would surely "want to be photographed with a handsome gardener."

Angered by the advance, she laughed when the man, who was leaning on a pick-up truck, fell down when it pulled away, she said.

The video also shows Dallaire laughing. 

Daillaire claims the man then sat down beside her and put his arm around her, leading her to become even more upset, she said. After a few moments, she wrote, the gardener pointed to the hidden cameras with his arm still around her.

"So the joke is to harass women at the park," Dallaire said on Facebook.

The video, however, doesn't show the man putting his arm around her. Rather, he sits down beside her and immediately points to the camera.

Clip won't be broadcast

Gags, which airs on CBC, celebrated its 15th year at the start of 2015. Over the years, the show has produced 5,000 gags, catching more than 120,000 people on hidden camera.

Pierre Girard, executive producer of Just for Laughs Gags, said it's rare that people complain, but it does happen.

He said the joke was meant to be at the expense at the man posing as a gardener, who fell to the ground.

Girard said Dallaire had signed a waiver following the prank, but they will not broadcast the clip.

"If she said she feels bad and had a bad feeling, I respect that," he said.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story referred to Lydia Dallaire. Her name is in fact Livia Dallaire.
    Jun 02, 2016 6:46 PM ET

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