Australia: Comedian Tom Ballard has released a statement on his website denying an allegation of sexual assault.
Ballard, host of the ABC show Tonightly with Tom Ballard, said he had a “consensual sexual experience with someone” 4 years ago. In the statement, Ballard said he has known about the allegation for six months, against him, which was aired publicly on Saturday.
He said he completely denied the allegation “in the strongest terms possible“. “I had absolutely no idea he believed it wasn’t consensual until six months ago“, Ballard said.
Ballard said the allegation “fundamentally goes against who I am as a person and everything I believe in“.
“Today is the 9th of June 2018, which marks four years since Tom Ballard, host of the ABC television show Tonightly, indecently assaulted me“, the post begins.
The post argues that defamation laws were stopping Australia from having its #MeToo moment, before recounting details from the night of the alleged assault.
The alleged victim claims that Ballard forcibly kissed him and placed the accuser’s hand on Ballard’s penis.
Ballard’s full statement is below:
As a comedian, I am no fan of being taken seriously. But today is an exception. This is an extremely difficult statement for me to write, but it’s necessary.
Over the past six months I have become aware of a claim being made about me. It involves an allegation of sexual assault: an allegation that I completely deny in the strongest terms possible. It fundamentally goes against who I am as a person and everything I believe in. Today that claim was aired publicly.
Four years ago I had a consensual sexual experience with someone. I had absolutely no idea he believed it wasn’t consensual until six months ago. His version of that experience as described on social media is simply not what happened.
This false claim has been spread via social media, text messages and gossip. It has been deeply distressing for me, my friends and my family. It has affected my work and my mental health.
I abhor sexual assault and sexual violence. I absolutely support the philosophy of the #MeToo movement: I believe in supporting victims and ensuring those who have done wrong face justice. But I have not done anything wrong. Any suggestion otherwise is false, deeply distressing and unhelpful.
Thank you for reading this.