Focus too much on men, not victims in MeToo revelations: Hamer
Johan Derksen, Rene van der Gijp, and Wilfred Genee showed in the broadcast of Vandaag Inside on Wednesday evening that they have absolutely no insight into how hurtful their conversations about sexual violence are for victims. That said Mariette Hamer, the government commissioner for sexual misconduct, on the NPO radio program Met Het Oog op Morgen later in the evening.
On Voetbal Inside on Tuesday, Derksen told an anecdote of how he sexually assaulted a drunk, unconscious woman in the early 1970s by penetrating her with a candle. On the same program on Wednesday, he went back on that story, saying he did not actually penetrate her but put the candle on a pedestal between the woman's legs.
"I was uncivilized. I was 24. I was ashamed of it," said Derksen. "It was the 1970s. I wanted to make clear how my generation became mischievous and experienced a riotous period. I pointed to myself." Derksen said he wanted to make clear "that the Netherlands is full of hypocritical people who misbehave and at the same time shame others." He refused to apologize. "To whom then? That would be like the mayor who now says sorry because Piet Hein would have misbehaved."
Van der Gijp proposed on Wednesday evening that the talk show be recorded in advance so that "wrong jokes that cause hassle" can be cut. Derksen was against it, saying he feared that this would "take the spontaneity out of the program." "There are still people who like us. Only that woke cancel culture trips over us every time," he said.
The story Derksen told laughingly on Tuesday and how colleagues Wilfred Genee and Rene responded to it led to many reactions, including from Hamer. "In the whole conversation of the men, it didn't seem to get through to them how hurtful everything they said today and yesterday is," Hamer said on Wednesday. "It was again mainly about how hard it was for them and that they are no longer allowed to make bad jokes. The ver big problem behind their statements was not discussed. I found that very disappointing."
Before Derksen's retraction on Wednesday, Hamer called his confession on Tuesday evening "disappointing television." She found it "degrading and hurtful" for people who experienced sexual violence. "In the 1960s and 1970s, this behavior was also not normal."
Chairman Janke Dekker of MORES, the hotline for sexually transgressive behavior in the entertainment sector, called Derksen's candle story "a bewildering new low" in the MeToo file in Hilversum. "At first, I thought it was satire," Dekker said. "Of course, humor can rub the wrong way, and you can like a joke or not. But this was misplaced, disrespectful, and disgusting."
Dekker was especially annoyed at how the others at the table laughed along with Derksen. "In Hilversum, we are in a transition phase in which the manners that men have standardized for years are being questioned. New groups are demanding their place in society: women, people of color, queer people. And they emphasize that there is more than the one white male hetero norm."
Lawyer Sebas Diekstra, who represents several victims of The Voice scandal, called Derksen's reversal on Wednesday implausible. "This is anything but credible and seems more like a pathetic attempt to save Johan Derksen as a regular on the program."
Talpa Network, the producer of the talk show, said on Wednesday that it wanted to "talk quickly" to Derksen but did not respond to all the commotion before the broadcast on Wednesday evening. After the broadcast, Talpa was unreachable for comment.
Johan Derksen has caused numerous outroars in the Netherlands over the past years, mostly due to racist comments and jokes about LGBTQ people. He claimed that he was receiving death threats after he called Turkey a "shit country" and implied that gay men are over exaggerating when they talk about violence against the LGBTQ community. Before that, he also said that gay men would find it easier to come out if they had more character. He compared Black politician Sylvana Simmons to a monkey, rapper and activist Akwassi to Zwarte Piet. He said that football clubs "go to shit" if they are located in neighborhoods where many Moroccan families live.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.