Dutch broadcaster apologizes for insensitive comments about 2001 murder victim

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Gordon (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Richard Broekhuijzen). Gordon (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Richard Broekhuijzen)

Broadcaster RTL had to again apologize for an insensitive comment made about 4-year-old murder victim Rowena Rikkers, better known in the Netherlands as the Girl from Nulde. "I'm waking up next to the Girl from Nulde again", Gordon said to Gerard Joling on an episode of Geer en Goor: Zoeken een Hobby. This statement massively upset the murdered toddler's father, his lawyer Sebas Diekstra said to AD.

The episode was filmed in May last year, and the broadcaster then already apologized for it and promised to delete that snippet from the program and the promo. Nevertheless, the statement was broadcast again over the weekend in a preview for the episode, which will be broadcast on Friday. According to the broadcaster, this was an error. "The broadcast with Gordon's comment had already been adapted and now too the fragment will not be seen in the broadcast on Friday. Unfortunately a mistake was made in the preview of the program. RTL expresses its sincere apologies", the broadcaster said in a statement.

According to lawyer Diekstra, father Martin Huisman found it appalling that this fragment popped up again. "He finds it disgusting that jokes are made on the back of his murdered daughter", the lawyer said to AD. "This is very bad for the survivors. And strange, because RTL promised to cut the passage from the program last year." He added that Huisman would like an apology from Gordon too. 

Rowena Rikkers was murdered in 2001. Parts of the toddler's body was found in Hoek van Holland and Nulde beach. Her stepfather Mike J. was convicted for her violent death in 2003. Her mother was sentenced to eight years in prison for her passive role in Rowena's death - the mother never intervened, did not report her daughter as missing and made contradictory statements about her relationship with J.

Father Martin Huisman complained to RTL about this fragment in May last year. RTL responded in a letter, which is in the possession of Hart van Nederland. It read: "The relevant statement has now been removed from the episode. We understand that the statement about your daughter is very offensive and we therefore regret that this fragment was broadcast. It was never our intention to hurt the survivors and we offer our sincere apologies."

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