Saturday, May 28

Dutch creator of The Voice accused of blaming the victim for sexual abuse allegations on the show | Netherlands

The Dutch creator of reality shows, including The Voice and Big Brother, has been accused of blaming victims by female employees at his company after allegations of widespread sexual abuse of contestants on the original Dutch version of The Voice. .

In a full-page advertisement in the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad, a group of employees at production company Talpa Media criticized its founder, John De Mol, for suggesting that women as well as men had lessons to learn from a scandal that had unfolded. take over the world. country this week and led to broadcaster RTL pulling Friday’s episode of The Voice of Holland off the air.

Following a spate of allegations of abuse against men on the show, De Mol, 66, said in an interview: “Don’t wait. Do not be afraid. You have to open your mouth. Only then can we help you… Women apparently have a kind of shame, I don’t know what it is, but I would like to delve into it”.

In response, an ad was published in Friday’s newspaper that read: “Dear John, it’s not the women. Greetings, the women of your company.”

In an accompanying statement, the group of employees wrote of their “shock and embarrassment” at De Mol’s comments. “It says a lot about a culture change that is needed within the company, but also in the world of media and society,” the statement continued. “And certainly in larger companies where the men in power still make these kinds of thinking errors.

“The behavior of women is not the problem. And neither is the solution. This statement is of course also for all other victims of sexually transgressive conduct in the workplace (not just in Talpa), to encourage them.”

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Talpa Media is run by De Mol but has been owned by ITV since 2015.

The Voice of the Netherlands was suspended ahead of Thursday’s broadcast of a documentary on the YouTube channel Boos, which translates to “angry,” and is hosted by the public broadcaster BNNVARA. In the documentary, dozens of anonymous women alleged that high-profile men on The Voice had sexually harassed, abused and assaulted them.

A spokesman for ITV Studios said the company was “shocked and dismayed” by the allegations, but declined to comment on De Mol’s interview. She said: “Our top priority is to provide a safe and supportive environment for everyone who takes part in or works on our shows and there is zero tolerance at ITV Studios for the kind of behavior highlighted on the show.

“After ITV Studios received a tip from Boos about this behavior last week, we acted quickly to launch an external investigation to fully understand what happened.”

Rapper Ali Bouali, 40, a trainer on the show who goes by Ali B, was accused by a former contestant of raping her when she appeared on the show as an 18-year-old wannabe.

In a statement, he responded: “There are already two anonymous reports coming out very furiously as news. That is unjustified. I cannot publicly defend myself against this. However, I am clear that the Public Prosecutor in both cases will have to decide to dismiss [the allegations]. I am not guilty of what I am accused of in the claims.”

Before the allegations aired, Jeroen Rietbergen, 50, the show’s gang leader, walked out after admitting to having “sexual contact” with women on the show and sending sexual orientation messages on an app. Rietbergen, until recently an associate of de Mol’s sister, TV presenter Linda de Mol, said he was unaware of wrongdoing at the time of the alleged incidents.

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Six other women have denounced the singer Marco Borsato, three of them contestants of La Voz and three of La Voz Kids. Borasto denies any wrongdoing.

De Mol, who initially made his fortune through the development of the reality series Big Brother, spoke of his disappointment that human resources procedures at his company had not protected contestants.

ITV bought Talpa Media seven years ago for £355m, with additional payments dependent on future performance, up to a total potential cost of £920,000.

The company has created 75 shows in more than 180 countries. The Voice format, in which singers are selected through public auditions and then trained by professionals before competing for a recording contract, has been broadcast in 50 countries.

Anouk Teeuwe, a singer who represented the Netherlands in the Eurovision song contest in 2013, said she had resigned as a coach on the show.

“The news is very sad and a great disappointment,” he said. “I know enough. I’ve decided I don’t want to go back to La Voz. It’s a corrupt mess. I don’t want to work in a place where men, for years, have abused their positions and where others have chosen to keep the misconduct quiet.” and look the other way.

“You just can’t do that. You have structural problems when you do that. I do not wish to be a part of such behavior, it is simply not me. Therefore, I will not return to The Voice of Holland.”

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