Sexual assault admission prompts all Vandaag Inside hosts to resign
Johan Derksen, Wilfred Genee, and René van der Gijp will stop working for the television program Vandaag Inside with immediate effect, announced the Talpa network on Friday. Derksen had already announced on Thursday that he intended to stop working on the show.
The decision made by the three men to quit follows the commotion stirred up by a story that Derksen told during the broadcast on Tuesday evening, in which he confessed to having sexually penetrated an unconscious woman with a candle in the 1970s. He later tried to add more nuance to the story during the following broadcast, and stated that no actual penetration had taken place. Derksen’s story and his attempt to walk back what he said generated a great deal of outrage. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) launched an investigation, and sponsors immediately terminated their collaboration.
Van der Gijp and Genee indicated on Friday that they also do not want to continue with the program under these circumstances, according to Talpa. Talpa had conversations with Derksen and the other presenters on Wednesday and Thursday. Derksen was to apologize during the broadcast on Thursday evening, but instead, he said he wanted to quit the program. Derksen made the threat before, including in response to the controversy around his comments about rapper Akwasi in June 2020. However, he then returned to the show despite his threat to depart.
MORES, the center for people to report cases of sexual misconduct in the entertainment sector, said it was disappointed that the men who host the show did not use the situation to draw more substantial attention to sexual harassment, abuse, and assault. "As far as I am concerned, the program should not have disappeared from television sets," said Janke Dekker, the chair of MORES. "There were a lot of people who really enjoyed it. I would have liked the men, and Talpa, to have used this moment for more reflection and a serious conversation about sexual misconduct."
Dekker was disappointed that the focus in recent days had solely been on the men of Vandaag Inside, and a debate about whether or not they were the victims of cancel culture. "With this decision, they have intensified the discussion about this again. And it is again not about the subject that actually deserves all the attention, namely the large number of cases of sexual misconduct, and the shame that victims are saddled with."
The MORES chair found it remarkable that Derksen said in his story that accepted behavior in the 1970s was different from now. "Those were the mannerisms that may have been considered normal by a certain group of the population, but certainly not by women. New groups are demanding their place and position in society: Women, people of color, queer people. And they emphasize that there is more than the one white male heteronorm."
An episode of Het Roer Om will be broadcast on Friday evening in place of Vandaag Inside. Starting next Monday, the broadcaster will air episodes of a reality program that follows a family as they relocate back from France to the Netherlands.
Reporting by ANP.