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Former Dutch talent show producer apologizes in scandal

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THE HAGUE – The former producer of Dutch talent show ‘The Voice of Holland’ apologized on Thursday after allegations of sexually inappropriate conduct linked to the ratings blockbuster emerged. Police and prosecutors have called reports of alleged abuse “disturbing” and urged victims to come forward with their experiences.

The online investigative show “BOOS” – the Dutch word for “angry” – reported that it had received several complaints ranging from an allegation of rape to sexually tinged WhatsApp messages from two panelists on “The Voice of Holland” and its pianist and band leader.

Dutch media mogul John de Mol responded to the allegations in an interview on the “BOOS” show on Thursday. He said that in his years as producer of ‘The Voice of Holland’ he had only received one complaint – against the show’s pianist and bandleader Jeroen Rietbergen, in 2019. launch an investigation.

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Rietbergen was the partner of De Mol’s sister, Dutch TV star Linda de Mol, until she broke off their relationship last weekend after apologizing for her behavior.

Asked by “BOOS” presenter Tim Hofman if he would apologize, De Mol replied: “Yes, of course. Absoutely.”

Prior to the airing of “BOOS,” police and prosecutors released a statement saying they had been monitoring reports of allegations of “all kinds of inappropriate behavior, which could include criminal offenses.” These are disturbing messages.

“We would like to call on people who believe they have been the victim of a criminal offense to come forward to the police and, if necessary, also to file a complaint,” the statement said, which also appealed for potential witnesses.

Even before the explosive episode of “BOOS” hit YouTube, it had rocked the Dutch entertainment world.

‘The Voice of Holland’, in which panelists ‘coach’ budding singers, was a ratings hit for years in the Netherlands and spawned local versions in dozens of other countries around the world . The allegations raised in the Netherlands relate only to the Dutch broadcast.

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Dutch broadcaster RTL Nederland has pulled ‘The Voice of Holland’ after being contacted by ‘BOOS’ for comment. The show’s current producer, ITV Studios, has launched an investigation.

Rietbergen has resigned and apologized for his conduct and two women have filed formal complaints with law enforcement alleging inappropriate behavior against one of the show’s panelists and talent coaches, the rapper Dutch Ali Bouali.

Bouali, known by his stage name Ali B, denies any wrongdoing, his lawyer told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “BOOS” interviewed a woman, whose identity has not been released, before and after she reported an alleged rape by Ali B.

Dutch media widely reported in December that an inappropriate behavior complaint had been filed against another former panelist and coach, popular singer Marco Borsato. He also denies wrongdoing.

A lawyer representing a former competitor also confirmed on Thursday that he and his client were preparing to file a complaint with the police. He did not reveal details of the allegations.

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Police and prosecutors issued a statement on Thursday urging people “who believe they may be victims of a crime” and potential witnesses to report it to police.

The show’s producer ITV Studios has already launched an investigation and said in a statement that its “highest priority is to provide a safe and supportive environment for all who participate in – or work on – our shows, and ITV Studios has a zero-tolerance policy towards the type of behavior that allegedly occurred.

Another panelist, singer Anouk, also quit. She said in an Instagram video when the story broke last weekend that she didn’t want to work “in a place where for years a number of men have abused their position and deliberately chosen to keep silence and look away”.

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