Victims must never be blamed, Justice Min. says about The Voice sex scandal
Justice Minister Dilan Yesilgöz believes that victims of sexual abuse must never be blamed for what happened to them. In a response to the scandal surrounding The Voice, she said to the victims on Friday: "It is not your fault. It is never the victim's fault." According to the Minister, "we can not repeat that enough."
Media mogul John de Mol said in the BOOS broadcast that he hopes that victims have learned to "ring the bell immediately and report it immediately." On Friday morning, female employees of De Mol put a full-page ad in the AD in which they said: "John, it's not the women."
Yesilgöz can't comment further on The Voice case itself, she said. She does not want to get in the way of the police and judiciary. "They must be able to do their job." But when asked about the advertisement, the Minister said: "There is no context in which this is the responsibility of the victim."
The BOOS documentary about sexually transgressive behavior and allegations of sexual assault and rape deeply touched her. "I'm really furious about it."
"Towards men who think they can take anything, you keep your hands away from girls and women," Yesilgöz continued. She also doesn't have a good word for "people who justify it, downplay it, and look away." It is important that victims are believed. "Confide in someone, file a report, know you are not alone," she said to the victims.
The Council of State is currently assessing a bill that ensures that coercion, threats, and violence are no longer conditions for a conviction in a sex crime. "A person is punishable if he could have known that someone did not want to have sex and continued anyway," explained Yesilgöz. That law is important, she stressed but still has to be debated. "Wherever I can speed it up, I will absolutely speed it up."
State Secretary Gunay Uslu wants to talk to broadcasters and John de Mol after the Boos broadcast. She was "nauseated" by reports of sexually transgressive behavior in the program. "This behavior must be tackled," said the State Secretary. Uslu also understands the criticism of De Mol's attitude. "It's not the women's fault. Men really have to take responsibility here."
De Mol's statements about the sexual abuse at The Voice of Holland look like "victim-blaming," said Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf of Education. He encouraged people like De Mol to create a safe work culture in their organizations. "This is not about victims having to do their very best to make themselves heard," Dijkgraaf said. It is up to the management to be "alert" to signals of misconduct and act on them.
The #metoo movement is not over yet, Dijkgraaf said. The hashtag has been used since 2017 to share stories about sexual abuse and harassment, often at the hand of someone in a higher position of power. "Some people think we've finished that chapter," said Dijkgraaf. "Well no, it's still going strong." The Minister thinks it's good if politicians in The Hague continue to state that line-crossing behavior is not normal.
Other Ministers also responded with shock. "I think we should work together on a society where this simply does not occur," said Ministry Conny Helder for Long-term Care in a first reaction.
"I'm really shocked," said Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren. She called it horrible that this can still happen "in the Netherlands in 2022."
Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Housing) called it "horrible" that this sparked so many accounts at The Voice. But he emphasized that people shouldn't think that this "only happens at this company." "I fear that it is the order of the day," he said.
In the BOOS episode on Thursday, 19 women told maker Tim Hofman their story about bandleader Jeroen Rietbergen, 15 about a director, and two charges were filed against coach Ali B. One of those charges is for rape, the prosecutor said in the program.
Earlier this week, Rietbergen resigned from his job as the bandleader. He acknowledged that he had relationships of a "sexual nature" with women involved in the program. RTL stopped the program and its collaboration with Ali B while the investigation is ongoing. Fellow coach Anouk decided not to return to the "corrupt gang," she said on Instagram.
Ali B denied the allegations against him.
The NPO radio stations are no longer playing the music of Ali B and Marco Borsato for the time being. This includes the stations NPO Radio 1 and NPO Radio 2. The stations FunX and NPO 3FM already stopped playing their music.
Publisher Maven Publishing stopped selling Ali B's book titled "De Ali B-methode" with immediate effect. The publisher said it is shocked by the allegations against the rapper.
Streaming service Videoland removed episodes of The Voice of Holland as well as the documentary about Ali B "The Only Way Is Up," a spokesperson for RTL confirmed.
Reporting by ANP.