TV show suspended over sexual misconduct allegations
Popular Dutch reality TV show ‘The Voice of Holland’ has been taken off the air after “several people” involved were accused of sexual misconduct and abusing their power.
The music program, which sparked The Voice shows in other countries, was suspended following a statement by broadcaster BNNVARA, which announced that a new program would be aired and dedicated to exploring the “sexually transgressive behavior on The Voice of Holland.”
BNNVARA said it “received several stories about sexually transgressive behavior from several people” over a long-term investigation. Band leader Jeroen Rietbergen turned out to be one of those named and has resigned.
“This Saturday the editors received a confession and apology from the band leader of The Voice, Jeroen Rietbergen. He has announced that he will stop his work at The Voice immediately,” reads the BNNVARA’s statement.
Rietbergen later confirmed that he had “contacts of a sexual nature” with women involved in a program and sent them some explicit messages. Only therapy helped him “to change permanently” and return to normal family life, the musician said, offering apologies to his employer, family and the women concerned.
However, Rietbergen is not the only person accused of such “sexually transgressive behavior.” One of the show’s coaches, Ali B, has been reported to police, according to Dutch media, though he denies all allegations.
“It is an accusation of something that would have happened a long time ago, but that is not true,” the rapper said on Instagram.
Show broadcaster RTL and production company ITV have ordered an independent investigation and have temporarily taken the show off air. Calling the allegations “very serious and shocking,” RTL said that it had not been aware of them prior to receiving an email from BNNVARA.
The broadcaster added that it takes the situation “extremely seriously” as “participants, employees, everyone must be able to work in complete safety.”
Those reassurances did not convince long-term show coach Anouk, however. The singer announced her resignation on Sunday, saying she no longer wanted to work “in a place where a number of men for years have abused their position.”