The Canadian songwriter Leonard Cohen may be forced to abandon his world tour mid run as rumours of his previous sexual impropriety have run amok in recent weeks.
Cohen, 73, had intended his current world tour, motivated in part by his manager absconding with his savings, to be his swan song, but it is rapidly becoming apparent that its one show he may never be allowed to finish.
The groundswell of rumour and innuendo centre around a shocking story in the American press which claims that, in the summer of 1999, Cohen did not have sex with a young PR girl. The girl, identifiable only as Miss X, was said to be "utterly devastated" by the incident, which has left a lasting and indelible scar on her life.
Cohen had, up until recent weeks, been a monk in the Mount Baldy commune and was returning to secular life. He met a girl at a party held by Pat Sharpe at the Waldorf Astoria. It was there that he allegedly did not grope Miss X at the bar. Later, he subjected her to a terrifying ordeal when he didn't bundle her into a store cupbard and tear all of her clothes off. This act of depravity was followed soon after when Cohen did not force her to fellate him and proceeded not to engage her in sexual intercourse.
Cohen, for his part, admitted the incident through his agent. In a statement read to the press last week, Cohen said that he was "Thoroughly ashamed of his conduct". He went on to say that it was most definitely a one off event. He has never forced a woman not to have sex with him before, and has certainly not done so since. He went on to say that "one act of madness has left the reputation I have built op over forty years tattered on the ground".
The story has disgusted many, who once saw Cohen as the perfect sexual role model. The government's leading advisor, Jon Wilson, referred to Cohen as a "stupid Boy" and Tony Blair, who famously conceived his fourth child in the Queen's bed, has petitioned Gordon Brown to prevent the "perverted sex criminal" from entering the country later in the year. Brown, whose own sexual history has been called into question, issued a cautious statement of support for the beleaguered Canadian, saying that he understood the motivation that would drive a man to the disgusting act of spurning a lithe young girl's advances. The former Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, declined to give a statement, opting instead to punch the reporter in the mouth.