"I remember that day in Creston well," Trudeau said, speaking to reporters in Regina, Saskatchewan. "I had a good day that day. I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all."
Trudeau was accused of "groping" and "inappropriately handling" a young female reporter in an unsigned editorial, which appeared in the Creston Valley Advance newspaper after the music festival.
The editorial said that the 18-year-old woman felt "blatantly disrespected" by Trudeau, who was then 28-years-old. It also claimed that Trudeau apologized for the incident and said: "If I had known you were reporting for a national paper, I would have never been so forward."
Valerie Bourne, the publisher of the Creston Valley Advance at the time of the incident, told CBC that the unnamed reporter was "unsettled" by what happened, but said she would not qualify it as a sexual assault. "She wasn't sure how she should proceed with it because of course we're talking somebody who was known to the Canadian community," she said.
Former Creston Valley Advance editor Brian Bell corroborated the incident, saying there was "no question" in his mind that what was alluded to in the editorial "did happen."
CBC spoke to the alleged groping victim earlier this year. She informed them that she was not interested in being associated with the story and asked not to be contacted again.
This is the second time in recent weeks that the media have brought up Trudeau's alleged groping incident, with the prime minister's office sending out a statement last month that the prime minister "doesn't think he had any negative interactions" in Creston in 2000.
The alleged incident sharply divided Canadians into two camps on social media, with supporters calling it a "planted story."
So a woman with no name, no details,no specific complaint who does not want to talk about any of this is an actual source? Sounds like a planted story to me.— Janis 🇨🇦 (@janismullan) 2 июля 2018 г.
Where is this supposed victim? Who is she? Does she want this publicity 18 years later? This is so asinine. 🙄 #WitchHunt— Linda Batt (@MelBat16) 2 июля 2018 г.
Critics were less forgiving, pointing to Trudeau's defense record of women's rights and suggesting that he was being hypocritical.
Rules are for little people…. https://t.co/EQeIDFGVkp— Alex Pierson (@AlexpiersonAMP) 2 июля 2018 г.
"There is no context in which someone doesn't have responsibility for things they've done in the past." Justin Trudeau Quotes.— Friendly Neighborhood Orphans (@FNORPHANS) 2 июля 2018 г.
If only he didn’t fly around the country screaming about progressive values and claiming that no matter what a woman should be believed. He’s wearing his words now.— GerrySEYMOURbutts (@UnionStruggles) 2 июля 2018 г.
Others joked about how robotic Trudeau's "negative interactions" comment sounded.
Beep boop beep boop "I don't remember any negative interactions# 🤖🤖🤖🤖— Mr. Michael Smith 🇨🇦🇮🇹🇬🇧🇵🇱🇺🇸🇦🇺🇨🇦 (@Stryder99) 2 июля 2018 г.