MONTREAL — A seemingly repentant Marcel Aubut apologized on Friday for his behaviour amid widespread allegations he sexually harassed several women.
“For the last 10 days or so, I have been living in turmoil,” he said in a statement he read out to reporters.
“The crisis brought on by my behaviour also plunged into turmoil my family, my friends, my associates, my employees and everyone who has been hurt by this behaviour.
“Today, to all those people and to all the others who have been outraged by what they have seen or heard in the last several days, it is from the bottom of my heart, the bottom of my heart and with all the sincerity I am capable of, that I offer my unreserved apologies.”
Aubut, 67, stepped down as president of the Canadian Olympic Committee last weekend after women accused him of sexual comments and unwanted touching.
He also said in his statement he is leaving the BCF law firm and seeking counselling.
Interim COC president Tricia Smith said this week the organization’s board was not aware of “any specific interactions that would be construed as harassment.”
La Presse and the Globe and Mail both reported a letter written to Aubut in 2011 indicated high-ranking people in the organization were uncomfortable with Aubut’s conduct toward women.
Smith insisted the board did not know about the letter but said an independent body has been asked to look into the circumstances of the June 2011 letter.
An employee lodged a harassment complaint with the COC, but withdrew it with Aubut’s resignation. Smith said the COC is fielding no other official complaints at this time, but other women have given interviews to Quebec media accusing Aubut of sexually harassing them.
Aubut’s statement, translated from French
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being here. I will read a statement and not take any questions.
I made the decision at noon yesterday (Thursday) to make this statement.
For the last 10 days or so, I have been living in turmoil.
The crisis brought on by my behaviour has also plunged into turmoil my family, my friends, my associates, employees and everyone who has been hurt by this behaviour.
Today, to all those people and to all the others who have been outraged by what they have seen or heard in the last several days, it is from the bottom of my heart, the bottom of my heart, and with all the sincerity I am capable of, that I offer my unreserved apologies.
In 45 years of professional life, I have always lived at 200 kilometres an hour and, this, without stopping.
And never did I question myself about about my behaviour in society. It has taken a crisis like the one I am going through and the one I am putting those close to me through to force myself to take a timeout and enter into deep reflection.
Today, the wake-up call is brutal. I have an enormous, an enormous, lots of, lots of, sorrow. I infinitely regret having hurt so many people who certainly did not deserve it. I hope that one day these people will be able to forgive me.
Today, I am taking a timeout during which I will carry out true introspection.
I have already begun consulting the best experts who will help me to change my behaviour and become a better person.
Thus, I informed my associates at the BCF law firm yesterday (Thursday) of MY decision to leave the firm. It saddens me to no end because my associates and colleagues at BCF have shown me a lot of openness and great empathy since the beginning of this crisis.
I want to thank them, sincerely, very sincerely, for this support and, especially, for their understanding.
I am convinced that the interests of the firm must come before mine. I have no doubt that BCF will continue its dazzling growth and will remain a law firm of great stature.
I especially want to thank my family, particularly my wife and three daughters who have comforted me and convinced me that the love that unites us is simply indestructible.
I also want to thank all those in the Olympic family who have supported me in my mission to boost the presence of our Olympic athletes, who, by the way, will always remain my heroes.
All throughout my career, I have worked unfailingly to carry through the projects that were close to my heart. I am proud of what I have accomplished and I intend to continue to have an active and fruitful professional life.
But I will have to do it with the determination and the energy I am known for while reminding myself that society has changed and that it demands greater respect between individuals, more specifically between men and women.
I assume full responsibilty for my actions. I have nobody else to blame but myself. Again, to all those I have hurt or disappointed, I reiterate my unreserved apologies and promise to do everything to become a better person.