Belgian TV presenter Bart De Pauw found guilty in MeToo case

In Belgium, TV personality Bart De Pauw has been found guilty in a MeToo case. He has been given a six-month suspended sentence and therefore does not have to go to prison. The Public Prosecution Service had demanded a suspended prison sentence of one year.

De Pauw was on trial for stalking nine women he worked with. Among the victims were actresses well-known in Belgium such as Maaike Cafmeyer, Lize Feryn and Liesa Naert. He also harassed stylists and interns by sending inappropriate messages. According to the prosecutor, there were possibly even 13 victims.

The judge found some of the charges proven and some others not. De Pauw was found guilty of stalking five women and “nuisance with electronic means of communication” of a sixth. A number of women asked for a symbolic compensation of 1 euro and were awarded it. 53-year-old Pauw was present in court when the verdict was read, together with his wife.

golden boy

During the trial, the prosecutor emphasized the seriousness of the allegations against De Pauw, although he said there was no sexual abuse. “He is no Harvey Weinstein, no monster, but he has seriously disturbed the peace of the women.”

In addition, there was a relationship of authority. “Bart De Pauw was a kind of god in the television landscape, the golden boy with whom everyone wanted to work.” But there was also another side, according to the OM. “He was also pathetic, had a hard time getting older and craved attention from young women.”

The lawsuit involved hundreds of text messages he sent to women. It often started fairly innocently, but then gradually became more explicit and gross. For example, he sent to an actress: “I love you so smoking hot. I would like to fuck you”.

‘Innocent flirting’

The public prosecutor did not demand an unconditional prison sentence, partly because De Pauw had already been severely punished by the publicity. “This file is about recognition.”

De Pauw dismissed the charges during the trial as innocent flirtation, but did apologize. He reacted with disappointment, but did not yet say whether he will appeal. “We will read the verdict at our leisure.”

The victims’ lawyer was satisfied that De Pauw’s behavior has already been punished, but also wants to study the verdict further before providing a further response.

Own production house

Bart De Pauw is known as an actor, often in humorous programs. He also writes screenplays and in 2008 he founded his own production house, Koeken Troef. Some of his victims worked there.

At the end of 2017, De Pauw announced that the VRT had ended its collaboration with him after women complained that they had been harassed by him. Shortly afterwards, the Belgian judiciary started an investigation.

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