Rape accusation filed against The Voice judge Ali B.; Another allegedly groped minors
More explosive claims about unprofessional and potentially criminal behavior behind the scenes of television show The Voice of Holland were revealed in the episode of BOOS released on Thursday. Dozens of women involved in the show over the years came forward to discuss their claims of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual assault, and rape. Rumors about the program's investigation already prompted broadcaster RTL to suspend airing The Voice, forced the show's band leader to resign, and prompted former employees of media mogul John de Mol, creator of The Voice, to speak out about a cultural of fear at his organization.
One former participant on The Voice of Holland said she intends to file a charge of rape against one of the show's coaches, rap musician Ali B. The declarant appeared anonymously on BOOS.
"I am going to file a complaint against Ali B today," said the declarant. When presenter Tim Hofman asked her what she was reporting, she said, "Rape." The woman said that it has been "so long" since it happened, and that she thought long and hard about filing a complaint. The woman said she knew he victimized more women, because Ali B. told her about it.
"But I never found them. And to file a report on your own against someone who has so much money, has so much power, and to actually have no proof of what happened, that is a very big step." The Public Prosecution Service considered her story, and after a conversation with her advised the woman to file a report.
BOOS claimed the rapper's behavior is part of a pattern. Several former candidates told their stories about sexually transgressive behavior anonymously. Ali B. denied all allegations, and said he is fully cooperating with the investigation.
He called the claims "slanderous," and said he has no idea who has made the claims which has put him on the defensive. He also said he was facing a "trial by media." On Tuesday, a second complaint was filed against Ali B. The first was presumably made by a former candidate of the program. Before the second report came in, RTL temporarily stopped working with the rapper.
"There are now two anonymous reports that are presented with a lot of fury as news. That is unjustified," he said after the show. "I cannot publicly defend myself against this. Nevertheless, it is clear to me that the Public Prosecution Service will in both cases have to decide to dismiss [the allegations]," the rapper wrote on Instagram. "I am not guilty of what I am accused of in the claims."
Borsato accused of groping six, including three minors
Additionally, singer Marco Borsato was said to have touched several candidates and employees without their consent during his position as a coach at The Voice of Holland and The Voice Kids. Six people came forward to BOOS, including three minors.
Three young women told Hofman that they "were groped for a long time, and undesirably" by Borsato. This included contact with the buttocks. One of them was an employee at The Voice.
Three former candidates of The Voice Kids also came forward. A 14-year-old girl said she was touched on the buttocks during an annual barbecue that Borsato organizes for former candidates. The victim said she ran away and was later searched for, a story her parents confirmed. A 13-year-old girl also claimed to have been groped. That story was also affirmed by her mother.
Borsato's lawyers, Geert-Jan Knoops and Carry Knoops-Hamburger, said they will not comment on the BOOS broadcast, "regardless of what is stated therein. Enough noise has already been created in this case in the public domain, which could hinder an independent and professional investigation."
Multiple allegations made against Jeroen Rietbergen; John de Mol claims he did not know the extent of the situation
Nineteen women also accused band leader Jeroen Rietbergen of sexually transgressive behavior. Until the allegations surfaced, he was in a relationship with Dutch presenter Linda de Mol, John de Mol's sister.
John de Mol said he was informed in April 2019 about Rietbergen's transgressive behavior at The Voice of Holland. "I was speechless for a moment and then I became really furious," the media magnate said on BOOS. The Talpa boss called Rietbergen and said that he should immediately drop everything and come to the office. When Rietbergen arrived ten minutes later, De Mol said he verbally told him off for half an hour.
"And even had to hold myself back so I wouldn't punch him square on the jaw." De Mol then told Rietbergen that if he did it again, or if he even sent a message to a woman on the program, he would grab him by his "head and ass" and throw him out.
De Mol said he did not know that several women were involved. In the eleven years that the two worked together, no complaint ever reached De Mol's desk, he claimed. There was once a complaint about a WhatsApp message that crossed a line, after which De Mol gave his employee a warning. According to De Mol, everyone deserves "a second chance" and he hoped that the warning adequately addressed the issue. The "girl" in question, De Mol said, was happy that the situation was not made a bigger issue than a warning. No investigation was launched, but De Mol said that the situation was closely monitored and he had not received any new reports.
RTL horrified by the accusations
RTL boss Sven Sauvé called the reports of sexually transgressive behavior and abuse of power around The Voice of Holland "downright terrible." He wants a deeper investigation into the allegations at the show, he said in a first reaction after the BOOS episode was released.
Program director Peter van der Vorst also responded for the first time. The victims' statements are "more than appalling," he said. "Our first care and attention goes out to the people this has happened to. We have great respect for the brave victims who have come forward with their story and hope that other victims, who have not yet told their story, will also come forward safe in the knowledge that they are no longer alone."
RTL has asked the Public Prosecution Service to investigate the reported abuses, Sauvé said. "In addition, the producer of The Voice, ITV, has commissioned an external investigation. RTL has urged ITV to conduct that investigation with the utmost care and independence."
The broadcaster wondered what they could have done differently to prevent the abuses. RTL is therefore entering into discussions with all producers who make programs for RTL to see what measures can be taken. The behavioral protocols can be adjusted if necessary.
Reporting by ANP