Comedians in Quebec are teaming up to create a comedy festival that will be separate from the world-famous Just For Laughs.
The move comes weeks after JFL founder and president Gilbert Rozon was accused of sexual assault and misconduct by multiple women, including TV producer and host Julie Snyder
Rozon has since stepped down as president and is disassociating himself from the company by making plans to sell off his shares.
A group of 50 comedians announced Tuesday they will launch their Festival of Laughs of Montreal, because they don’t want to take part in the more famous festival, preferring to break away from it following the allegations.
Comedian Martin Petit, who won a Genie award for Starbuck, is behind the initiative and he has assembled a large group of French-language comics including Mike Ward, Anthony Kavanagh, and Les Denis Drolet.
Petit said his group would be based on ethical values, equality, and respect, and that they are already seeking financing from the provincial and federal governments, as well as private companies.
The artists say it will be their festival and they will look to hire local promoters and producers and they plan to base the management on equal pay and ethical management.
The new festival involves French artists and Juste pour Rire specifically, and said nothing of the English side of the Just for Laughs festival.
Juste pour Rire issued a statement saying, ‘We are disappointed certain artists have chosen to create a new platform. Our former president has left and his shares are being sold and a new owner will be announced soon.’
They added that the Just for Laughs comedy festival will go on in late July 2018.