'He pushed the door and came into the apartment': Another Quebec actress alleges assault by Gilbert Rozon
Patricia Tulasne says Just For Laughs founder forced himself on her in her home
Quebec actress Patricia Tulasne is the latest woman to come forward alleging she was sexually assaulted by Quebec impresario Gilbert Rozon, founder of the Just for Laughs festival.
According to Tulasne, the alleged incident happened in her apartment in 1994, when she was 34.
After a night out at a restaurant celebrating the final performance of the Just For Laughs production Le dîner de cons, Tulasne said Rozon offered her a lift home.
- Gilbert Rozon steps down after misconduct allegations
- Just For Laughs restructures after Gilbert Rozon accused of sexual assault
"At the time, we both lived in Outremont. So I accepted. We left in his convertible, and the car ride home was fine. There was nothing inappropriate. I didn't feel in danger at all," Tulasne told Radio-Canada.
When they arrived at her home, she said, Rozon invited himself up to her apartment — but she declined.
"I said, 'No, listen, Gilbert, I have to walk my dog now, and then tomorrow I have to wake up very early.'"
But Rozon said he'd keep her company while she walked her dog.
"So we go walk the dog — an hour passes, an hour and a half. I didn't know how to get rid of him. I figure, 'He'll get the point. He'll leave,'" Tulasne said.
When they finally returned to her house, Tulasne said she wished Rozon a good night. That's when things took a sudden turn, she said.
'I didn't know how to get rid of him.' - Patricia Tulasne, Quebec actress
"He pushed open the door, entered the apartment, and the first thing I remember is that he held me against the wall, kissed me and took off my dress."
Tulasne said she didn't know what to do next.
"I thought to myself, 'OK, either we get in a brawl or, what's easier for me to do is to just give in, it'll last 10 minutes and then I'll be rid of him. And that's what happened. After 10 minutes he left, and that was the end of it."
Never went to police
Tulasne said she felt ashamed for years.
"I should have pushed him off, but you have to put it all in context. I was very young, there was that employer-employee dynamic. He was a very powerful man, while I was just starting my career."
Tulasne never went to police. There was never an investigation, and the allegations were never tested in court.
She said she decided to speak out after all these years because she heard similar stories from other women in the media.
"I salute their courage because what I'm going through now is difficult. It's an old story and I realize that, no, it's still there, and it's time to denounce this kind of behaviour," said Tulasne, the 10th woman to come forward publicly with an allegation against Rozon.
Montreal police set up a hotline Thursday, encouraging complainants of sexual assault to come forward.
Rozon suddenly resigned Wednesday from his positions at Just For Laughs and on Montreal's chamber of commerce, as well as from his role as commissioner of the city's 375th anniversary celebrations, but he has never admitted to any wrongdoing.
'These are new times'
Rozon resigned on the same day that another Quebec media star, Eric Salvail, was suspended following sexual harassment allegations.
Francine Pelletier, a documentary filmmaker and columnist for le Devoir newspaper — which broke the story with allegations against Rozon from nine women — said there's a shift in the tide.
"These men … represent a huge power and a huge business and a lot of money," Pelletier told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.
"So the fact that they are tumbling so quickly.… It certainly says to me that these are new times — that we are believing women."
With files from Radio-Canada and CBC Montreal's Daybreak