Senior Swedish politician ‘sexually harassed’ at social event

4 Jul, 2017 17:35 / Updated 6 years ago

A senior Swedish politician was allegedly sexually harassed at the opening party for a popular social event when a former politician reportedly took so-called upskirt photos of her. The alleged perpetrator denies the accusations, Swedish media report.

The incident reportedly took place at the official opening party for the Almedalen Week event on Sunday night. Almedalen Week is an annual event in Sweden during which politicians, businessmen and lobbyists gather in the Gotland Municipality town of Visby to discuss politics and socialize.

An unnamed former high-ranking politician, who now works as a businessman and entrepreneur, allegedly lay on the dancefloor and took upskirt photos of an unnamed Swedish female politician, Metro newspaper reports, citing a source.

“It was insane. Here we read about the rape at music festivals and recently arrived refugees are accused of misbehaving and then you get to see a successful entrepreneur behave in this way, it is totally unacceptable,” the source told the newspaper.

The female politician was shocked by the event, according to Metro, which approached her for comment.

“I'm just trying to pull myself together to get through the week, I have a job to do here and right now I'm trying to write a speech,” the politician said. “I don't feel good about this, it feels terrible.”

While the politician herself did not mention possible legal action in the aftermath of the alleged incident, a fellow party member told Expressen newspaper that the woman would undertake action as she was afraid of the pictures getting out.

“She feels bad for this course [of action], [and] we try to support and be around her,” the politician’s colleague said.

The businessman behind the allegations, however, denied the accusations of sexual harassment and told Metro a different story.

“That’s entirely misinterpreted, that’s not true,” the man said. “I took a picture of her from behind when she was dancing. The picture showing her from the lower back and down was not taken when I was lying down on any floor. I approached her and showed the picture. 'Nice legs,' I said and showed the picture to her. She grabbed my arms so I got bruises then. I deleted the image immediately.”

The businessman told the newspaper that he was “shocked” when the woman perceived his behavior as harassment.

“I was baffled over her reaction, so I went up to the security guards and told them what had happened. It's unbelievable I'm getting accused of sexual molestation,” he added.

The incident comes shortly after Sweden’s annual three-day Bravalla musical festival, which was marred by accusations of widespread sexual violence.

Police are investigating four potential rapes and some 22 counts of sexual assault on the grounds of the festival, which concluded July 1. Festival organizers have already canceled next year’s event following the reports of sexual violence.

“Words cannot describe how incredibly sad we are about this, and we most seriously regret and condemn this. This is not f**king okay. We do not accept this at our festival,” organizers said in a statement.