SA Comedian Comes Forward As Man Who Accused Tom Ballard Of Sexual Assault

Adelaide comedian JooYung Roberts has named himself as the previously anonymous victim of an alleged sexual assault by Tom Ballard, award-winning comic and host of the ABC‘s Tonightly.

He took to Twitter yesterday to announce “I am Tom Ballard’s accuser“, revealing himself because “it can be difficult to know what to make of allegations when they come from an anonymous source“:  “I am not afraid to be identified.”

Roberts included in the post a link to his original accusation on Facebook.

Roberts alleges that Ballard indecently assaulted him in a hotel room after a comedy gig in 2014. He writes that he went with Ballard as an emerging comedian eager to learn from an established figure in the Australian scene.

He offers me a glass of port wine… He finishes his glass, reaches over and grabs my glass, takes a sip then hands it back. He kisses me then. Sticks his tongue right into my mouth.

I left eventually, as politely as I could, but not before he had placed my hand on his penis and placed his mouth on mine, and not before being placed face forward against a counter and desperately turning around.

Roberts writes that he went to the police days later, but “there wasn’t really anything that could be done” as Ballard “hadn’t gone outside of the confines of the law“.

Roberts told the ABC today that he went to the police again to report the assault in December, but was advised an investigation would not proceed due to the poor likelihood of prosecution.

In the original post, he goes on to speak about the importance of the #MeToo movement, encouraging survivors to “Stay resilient, stay strong, stay alive.”

Over the weekend, Ballard posted a statement to his website strongly denying the accusations, saying, “[The allegation] fundamentally goes against who I am as a person and everything I believe in.”

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.

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.

Roberts told The Advertiser yesterday that since the”traumatising” incident, he has struggled with suicidal thoughts and substance abuse issues, but in the last six months has been seeing a psychologist who has helped him begin to recover.

He still performs stand-up in Adelaide, and hopes that by talking publicly he can encourage other survivors to be brave and speak out themselves, despite the challenges they face.

To any survivors out there, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. If you tell the truth all the right people will be on your side.”

If you have been a victim of sexual assault (whatever your gender), you can call1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732 for support.