Talent show ‘The Voice of Holland’ hit by #MeToo scandal

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Dutch talent show “The Voice of Holland” has been pulled from the air in the Netherlands amid a sexual misconduct scandal that has cast a shadow over the future of the television ratings juggernaut. in the country where it was first conceived by a media mogul.

Fury is one of the most serious #MeToo accounts to date in the Dutch entertainment world and focuses on a show created in the Netherlands but airing in local versions around the world.

It also attracts a family considered TV royalty in the Netherlands – original creator John de Mol and his sister Linda, a TV star in her own right in the Netherlands and Germany who split over the weekend. -end of the pianist and the group “The Voice of Holland”. leader after admitting to having sexual contact with some competitors.

The Dutch scandal erupted after a local broadcaster’s YouTube show called “BOOS” – the Dutch word for angry – contacted “The Voice of Holland” to say it had spoken to victims about “sexually behaving transgressive” on the show and planned to air a program about their allegations on Thursday.

The prosecution has received two complaints in recent days against one of the show’s panelists, the Dutch rapper Ali Bouali. His lawyer, Bart Swier, said on Wednesday that the entertainer known as Ali B denies any wrongdoing. Swier declined to comment further.

The complaints, which Swier said were filed on January 11 and Tuesday, will trigger investigations to determine whether Ali B should face criminal charges.

Even Prime Minister Mark Rutte has weighed in on the scandal swirling around one of the Netherlands’ most popular TV shows.

“I think everyone is very shocked and it’s good that there is an investigation,” he told Dutch daily De Telegraaf.

Dutch broadcaster RTL, which broadcasts “The Voice of Holland”, reacted quickly to the reports, saying over the weekend that it was suspending the broadcast. He called the allegations “very serious and shocking” and said they were not known to RTL.

Dutch media reported on Wednesday that RTL had suspended ties with Ali B following the complaints. The network did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The show’s pianist and bandleader, Jeroen Rietbergen, resigned over the weekend and issued a statement acknowledging his actions.

“During my years of involvement with ‘The Voice of Holland’, I had contact of a sexual nature with some of the women involved in the program and exchanged sexually tinged WhatsApp messages,” he said. in a statement to the entertainment news program RTL Boulevard.

Rietbergen went on to say that after initially viewing sexual encounters “as reciprocal and equal,” he later realized that women “may have experienced this very differently.” This insight made me realize that my behavior was completely wrong.

His statement also suggested that the show’s producers were aware of his actions and had warned him in the past. Rietbergen’s attorney did not immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment.

Rietbergen’s partner Linda de Mol said in a statement on her website that she had parted ways with Rietbergen after the scandal broke and was taking a break from her own television career.

RTL said it had contacted the show’s producer, ITV Studios, who agreed “to immediately launch a diligent and independent investigation”. The Dutch broadcaster said that “participants, employees, everyone must be able to work safely. There is no room for interpretation there. The priority now is to put the facts on the table.

ITV Studios said: “Our top priority is to provide a safe and supportive environment for everyone who participates in – or works on – our shows and ITV Studios has a zero tolerance policy towards the type of behavior that may have taken place. ”

The company said its investigation was intended to “build a full picture of what happened” and encouraged victims or witnesses to speak to the inquest.

Dutch singer Anouk said she was quitting her role as the show’s panelist, who first got to know the contestants by listening to them “blind” from a swivel chair facing the stage before moving on. to frame them.

“I don’t want to work in a place where for years a number of men have abused their position and deliberately chosen to remain silent and look the other way,” she said in an Instagram video.

Dutch public broadcaster NPO has also taken action in the wake of the scandal, sending a letter to public networks urging them to ensure they have sufficient at-fault checks.

“We treat everyone equally and respectfully,” the organization said in a letter to broadcasters on Tuesday. “Attention is given to unequal power relationships and dependency relationships, where there may be an increased risk of unwanted transgressive behavior.”

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