Eric Salvail suspended in wake of sexual harassment allegations
Published Wednesday, October 18, 2017 11:10AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 7:46PM EDT
Following allegations of sexual harassment and lewd misconduct in the workplace, Quebec celebrity Eric Salvail has been suspended from his TV and radio shows.
He has not been charged, and Montreal police said that no criminal investigation is underway.
Eleven people told La Presse they witnessed or were the target of inappropriate conduct by Salvail over a span of 15 years, starting on the year 2000.
Hairdresser and makeup artist Marc Berardini was the only one who did not wish to preserve his anonymity. He spoke to CTV Montreal Wednesday from Los Angeles.
He told CTV Montreal that Salvail made repeated sexual advances in 2003 while driving him home from work, then a few weeks later stripped naked in his living room and exposed himself.
When he told others about the incidents to others, reactions ranged from "you should report this," to "you should be flattered."
"This is the problem for male victims. Right now you feel like you have the power -- I'm a big guy, I could have fought my way out -- but they don’t prey on people physically. They don’t care about physical. They think 'I have power, I can screw up your career,' and so they do have something over you," said Berardini.
Ultimately he did not complain to police because he was confused about what happened.
"Back then I didn’t know what happened to me. I didn’t know I could be sexually harassed," said Berardini.
He was also worried about burning bridges and winding up unable to work.
"In the entertainment industry we are freelance so we don’t have an employer. He was the big boss," said Berardini.
Ten people who wished to remain anonymous told La Presse how Salvail repeatedly exposed his genitals, was often heard asking employees and subordinates for sexual favours and grabbing people on their buttocks or groin.
Berardini said several people contacted him on Wednesday.
"Victims have reached out to me personally and privately that told me I worked for him, he did this to me... Not exactly what happened to me, but sexually harassed me, showed his penis on several occasions. Straight and gay men. It’s just not right," said Berardini.
V Media issued a statement Wednesday morning saying that it was suspending the show En Mode Salvail immediately, and that it was re-evaluating its business relationship with Salvail's production company.
Salvail also had an afternoon radio show on Rouge, operated by Bell Media (CTV's parent company), that has been suspended. Bell Media has replaced the show until further notice.
Salvail issued a statement Wednesday saying that he was "deeply shocked by the allegations published this morning. I never had the intention of causing any distress to anyone."
Air Transat has since cancelled a promotional event that was to feature Salvail, and the grocery chain Metro has pulled its advertisements that included Salvail.