MONTREAL – The recent sex-assault controversy involving the founder of the Just For Laughs festival has prompted the creation of a new comedy bash.
Several dozen mainly francophone Quebec comedians have joined forces to put together an alternative festival.
Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon recently stepped down as president of the organization following allegations from at least nine women he either sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them.
The new event is the idea of standup comedian Martin Petit and is expected to be launched in 2018.
Organizers admit it’s being created as “a direct response to the scandal that recently shook Quebec.”
Petit says in a statement that Quebec comedians received messages on social media asking them to organize their own laughs festival.
He indicated that the Quebec and federal governments and “credible financial partners” have already expressed interest.
Meanwhile, the original Montreal-based Just For Laughs fest said in a statement Tuesday the long-standing event, which was founded in 1983, will take place next year.
The release also said a new Just For Laughs owner will be announced soon.
It went on to say “it was unfortunate to learn that some Quebec artists have chosen to create their own event”, but added “they have a right to create a new platform for their art.”