Australian comedian Tom Ballard. | Photo: Facebook
One of Australia’s most well known comedians has denied sexually assaulting another man four years ago.
Up and coming comedian JooYung Roberts has accused Tom Ballard of sexual assault when he went into his hotel room after a gig in June 2014.
Roberts took to Facebook to describe the alleged assault and said he went to police after the incident.
Police reportedly decided not to pursue the matter because it did not appear any crime had been committed.
Ballard hosts a ‘The Daily Show’ style news comedy show called Tonightly. He is openly gay and has been an outspoken advocate for many causes including LGBTI rights, marriage equality and asylum seekers.
He took to his website to strenuously deny the allegation, which he had learned about six months prior to Roberts going public.
‘I have become aware of a claim being made about me,’ Ballard wrote.
‘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.’
Roberts’ original Facebook post argued Australia’s strict defamation laws meant fewer people had been implicated in the #MeToo movement in Australia.
The movement started last year after more than a hundred women accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault. It has since spawned hundreds more people in industries across the world to name people who had sexually assaulted them.
But Ballard said he completely supports the #MeToo movement because he abhors sexual assault. He also refuted Roberts claims about what happened that night.
‘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,’ Ballard said in his statement.
‘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.’