Dutch police investigate claims of abuse at talent show

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Dutch police say they have received five reports of alleged criminal abuse linked to talent show ‘The Voice of Holland’ and around 20 reports of ‘inappropriate behavior and possible sexually transgressive behavior’ by people linked to the episode

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Dutch police have received five reports of suspected criminal abuse linked to the talent show “The Voice of Holland” and around 20 reports of “inappropriate and possibly sexually transgressive behavior” by people connected to the show.

Monday’s police statement revealed no further details about the complaints, citing confidentiality.

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

The show’s former producer, media mogul John de Mol, apologized and told ‘BOOS’ that in his years as producer of ‘The Voice of Holland’, he never had received only one complaint, and that was against the show’s pianist and bandleader Jeroen Rietbergen, in 2019.

Rietbergen was the partner of De Mol’s sister, Dutch television star Linda de Mol. She ended their relationship and the popular talent show was axed amid the allegations. Rietbergen apologized for his behavior. Two other panelists denied any wrongdoing.

Police said in a statement on Monday that they were working with the country’s prosecutor’s office to investigate the reports and determine whether they merit criminal investigations.

“This process takes time. We want to do this, as always, with the utmost care in the interest of the victims,” the force said.

Reports of abuse of the ratings juggernaut airing in local versions around the world have reopened the #MeToo debate in the Netherlands.

In an unrelated case, one of Amsterdam football club Ajax’s top administrators resigned on Sunday evening and apologized for sending inappropriate messages to female colleagues.

Marc Overmars, a former star player for Ajax, Arsenal, Barcelona and the Netherlands national team, apologized in a statement released by Ajax. He said he “didn’t realize I was crossing the line with this, but it’s been made clear to me over the past few days.”

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