Linda Magazine had reports of The Voice sex harassment in 2020: Volkskrant
Magazine Linda received concrete information about sexually transgressive behavior at The Voice of Holland in June 2020. The magazine spoke to two women who accused coach Ali B of sexual harassment and rape. The testimonials never led to a published article, the Volkskrant reports after speaking with multiple Linda employees and former employees, including the magazine's creative director.
Linda is part of the Talpa media company. The magazine's founder, Linda de Mol, was in a relationship with The Voice band leader Johan Rietbergen. In an episode of BOOS last week, 19 women accused Rietbergen of sexually transgressive behavior. Linda de Mol broke off the relationship with Rietbergen after the allegations against him came out. She is also the sister of Talpa director and The Voice creator John de Mol.
In the same BOOS episode, women also accused coaches Ali B and Marco Borsato of sexually transgressive behavior, including a former contestant who said that Ali B raped her. In the broadcast, John de Mol said he was shocked and only heard about one case of misconduct by Rietbergen. He also said that he hopes the victims have learned to come forward right away, prompting female employees at Talpa to buy a full-page ad in newspaper AD saying: "Dear John, it's not the women."
But it now turns out that monthly magazine Linda knew about accusations against Ali B since June 2020. Two victims came forward to the magazine. One a former contestant who said the rapper and voice coach invited her to his studio apartment in Almere in 2014, where Ali B initiated sex with the then 18-year-old woman. She said she froze and did not dare resist because of the balance of power. The other victim was not a contestant on The Voice but took part in a writing camp with Ali B in 2018. He groped her repeatedly, she said.
Various Linda employees knew about the accusations against Ali B. Linda de Mol was "confidentially informed," she said to the Volkskrant through creative director Jildou van der Bijl. According to Van der Bijl, they did not report the accusations to Talpa because the talent show participant didn't want them to. She had no hope that the report would be taken seriously because she was "waved away" when she reported the rape to an item director of The Voice in 2014, shortly after it happened, Van der Bijl said.
Linda never published the allegations because the editors found the evidence too meager, Van der Bijl said. "We absolutely believed the women, but we did not think the stories were sufficient. The publication really needed more evidence. There was also no police report. For example, if we had testimonials from six women, we would probably have made a different decision."
Linda de Mol said she did not share the allegations with her brother John "to respect the anonymity and wishes of the victim." A spokesperson for Talpa confirmed that the company did not know about these allegations in June 2020, adding that "we would have liked to know."
The freelance journalist who recorded the testimonies for Linda told the Volkskrant that she did not go looking for more victims for fear that Ali B would find out. Instead, Lizette Dalebout advised the women to look for other victims themselves and helped them prepare calls to find more victims. After six months with no responses, the women wanted to share their stories elsewhere, and Dalebout suggested BOOS and put them in contact with presenter and creator Tim Hofman in March 2021.
According to Van der Bijl, commercial and family ties played no part in not writing about the abuses. "Linda's loyalty goes primarily to the women and not to the parent company."