Veronica Inside’s last episode of season scrapped over racism row

Johan Derksen and Hans Groenendijk
Johan Derksen (L.) with Hans Groenendijk at the latter's book premiere. 16 April 2014Photo by Jasper Joosten for Hans GroenendijkWikimedia CommonsCC-BY

The last episode of Veronica Inside before its summer break will not be broadcast on Monday, Marco Louwerens of television station Talpa announced on Thursday. There is conflict among the presenters following a "joke" made by Johan Derksen about anti-racism activist Akwasi and blackface Zwate Piet, reports.

Louwerens sat down with Wilfred Genee, Johan Derksen and Rene van der Gijp on Wednesday to discuss the situation. According to the director, this break is necessary for everyone to "calm down and come to their senses". He added that he has a "good feeling" that Veronica Inside will be back after the summer and that things between Genee, Derksen and Van der Gijp "will be fine".

In the Veronica Inside broadcast on June 15, the three men spoke about Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the Netherlands, including a counter-demonstrator in Leeuwarden dressed as blackface Zwate Piet. Derksen asked whether that man wasn't Akwasi.

This comment caused a flood fo criticism on Derksen and the program. Various football clubs and players criticized the racism of the comment and distanced themselves from the show. A number of advertisers also pulled their spots. 

On Monday the topic of racism was discussed on the show. Derksen called his comment a "wrong joke" but refused to apologize.

On Tuesday Derksen announced that he asked Talpa not to cancel the last episode of the season. According to Van der Gijp, presenter Genee put him and Derksen on the spot. 

Louwerens said on that Wednesday's conversation with Genee, Derksen and Van der Gijp was "tough" and "emotional" According to him, the three men don't often talk to each other. Louwerens plans to visit them at home in a few weeks.