ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Brenda Seymour says receiving an apology from the mayor is “an amazing step forward” in the Newfoundland and Labrador town that made international headlines over allegations of porn and sexual harassment.
A news release from Spaniard’s Bay in southeastern Newfoundland apologized to Seymour, who is also a town councillor, “for instances of sexual harassment which she has endured.”
“We do not condone, nor tolerate any such behaviour,” the letter reads.
“It’s an amazing step forward. It’s ground-breaking,” Seymour told the Toronto Star in a phone interview about the apology.
“It exonerates me from any wrong-doing, really, they’ve taken ownership of what has happened here and they are being admittedly accountable for what has taken place.”
Seymour unleashed a social media uproar earlier this month with harassment allegations that included pornography shown during firefighter training almost two years ago.
Tensions peaked last week as most of the volunteer fire brigade resigned as part of an ugly rift in the small community.
The statement signed by Mayor Tony Menchions says the council has zero tolerance for harassment of any kind and will ensure all workers and volunteers have a safe environment.
Seymour said she became aware that an apology was coming during a town council meeting Monday night. She told the Star council has begun the process of seeking applicants to fill the vacant firefighter positions.
She said she is still facing backlash on social media from some of the firefighters that resigned, but she said she hoped the apology would set the town on a path towards reconciliation.
“It’s a starting point, it’s a bridge,” Seymour said. “It’s a place to move forward and see what the next step is. It’s going to still be a long road, but it’s hopefully the right one.”
— with files from The Canadian Press