Inappropriate comments, unwanted touches, an overall sense of insecurity: the accusations against the creators of The Voice of Holland are out of the blue. And then the relevant episode of the BNNVARA program ANGRY, which started the case, are yet to be broadcast. It will be online this afternoon.
The program makers of The Voice have now announced an independent investigation into the allegations and are calling on victims to come forward. This appeal is also heard from politicians: State Secretary Uslu (Culture and Media) hopes that victims will report the crime. Minister Yesilgöz (Justice) spoke in similar terms this week. “Please file a report, because then the police and the Public Prosecution Service can start an investigation.”
This raises the question of how likely such a declaration is. For example, inappropriate sexually explicit comments are offensive, but not punishable in themselves, says lawyer Floor Oehlen, who specializes in victim cases. As an example, she points to the story of ancientThe Voice-participant Kirsten Berkx, who appeared in the talk show this week Beau told about a comment from band leader Jeroen Rietbergen. He would have told her that she had on “horny pants”, which she had experienced as very inappropriate.
“You can think of anything moral about such a comment about pants, but it is not a criminal offense,” says Oehlen. However, she believes it makes sense to report such things to the police. “You don’t immediately report it, but a report can also be useful because it paints a picture of the atmosphere. Such a story can then serve as evidence of support or contribute to the conviction in someone else’s report.”
In this video, which we made on Tuesday, you will find an overview of what happened last week. Yesterday, another declaration against Jeroen Rietbergen and a second declaration against The Voice coach Ali B were added:
In criminal law, an incident can be regarded as assault when someone is forced by (threat of) violence “or another fact” to “commit or tolerate indecent acts”. This is a difficult issue from a legal point of view, says Oehlen, because what exactly is meant by ‘a different factuality’ depends on the interpretation of the judge.
“In any case, case law has shown that ‘the unexpected’ can also be interpreted as assault. So, for example, if someone hits you on your butt or touches your breasts when you did not expect that.”
Oehlen emphasizes that many victims of sexual misconduct do not dare to sound the alarm right away, mainly out of shame. “And they often look for the cause within themselves, thinking that they have done something wrong. If they do file a report or report, they sometimes hear that the police can’t do anything about it, for example because other matters have priority. hear it’s ‘just a touch’.”
According to Oehlen, a report or declaration can take on a different meaning if more reports about the same situation are received. “Or if the report is about someone with a certain position, such as when there is a dependency relationship between that person and the victim. That can have an aggravating effect.”
At least there was such a dependency relationship The Voice of Holland, says Marjan Olfers, professor at the VU and director of research and consultancy firm Verinorm for social safety. Last year, Olfers conducted research into transgressive behavior in gymnastics and recently started a similar study in the dance world.
“There are many risk factors in The Voice“, she says. “Participants look up to certain key figures in the field. They really want to break through, the other has a huge position of power. That combination can be a breeding ground for undesirable behavior.”
According to Olfers, the allegations against the talent show must be thoroughly investigated by an independent party. “In the end, everything stands or falls with a good corporate culture,” she says. “How do you treat each other, what do you accept and what not? All kinds of things can be arranged, such as confidential advisers and rules of conduct, but that is all legal practice. It is about making those rules together, that you think up together: what do we want the manners to be?”