Production company ITV has apologized following the investigation into the abuses at the TV program published today The Voice. The investigation by law firm Van Doorne shows that there were insufficient safeguards to prevent undesirable behaviour. And after reports, no timely and sufficient action was taken. There was also an imbalance of power, which made it easier for abuses to take place.
“Some individuals appear to have been informally addressed about their behavior, but no formal action appears to have been taken,” the report concludes.
For example, a candidate reported that a creator of the program sent Whatsapp messages and made comments in conversations “with a sexual connotation”. Van Doorne writes about this that it remains unclear exactly which managers were informed about this, what information was provided and what other measures were taken.
Today ITV apologizes through director Lisa Perrin. “We apologize to anyone who made any form of inappropriate behavior around it The Voice of Holland has encountered. It is our priority to provide a safe and supportive environment for anyone participating in or working on our shows and there is no place for inappropriate behavior at ITV Studios.”
Van Doorne says that many interviewees talked about power inequality. “It has been noted, among other things, that candidates who participate in a talent show that is important to their career are in a particularly vulnerable position.”
Many interviewees also mentioned the atmosphere surrounding the The Voice as “flirty, physical and cuddly”. Some objected to that The Voice is no exception to this, but that this also applied to other TV shows.
Van Doorne adds that The Voice Kids detailed guidelines apply with rules for physical contact. But at The Voice and The VoiceSenior are no more than general guidelines about appropriate or inappropriate physical contact found by the researchers. Incidentally, Van Doorne says he has not observed any inappropriate behavior with regard to candidates from The Voice Kids or The VoiceSenior.
Persecution Ali B and Rietbergen
There was earlier criticism of the choice of Van Doorne as a researcher. The law firm was hired by ITV itself for the external investigation. Sébas Diekstra, who represents victims, calls the findings of the investigation disappointing. According to Diekstra, those with final responsibility are deliberately kept out of harm’s way. “Of course it is clear whose interests are served by this,” he writes on Twitter.
The reason for the investigation was a broadcast of ANGRY, the YouTube program of presenter Tim Hofman, January last year. Dozens of women are said to have been harassed behind the scenes by coaches Ali B and Marco Borsato and band leader Jeroen Rietbergen, Linda de Mol’s partner at the time.
The Public Prosecution Service is also investigating the abuses The Voice. Earlier this month it became clear that Ali B and Jeroen Rietbergen will be prosecuted for sexual abuse in the TV program. Marco Borsato will not be prosecuted due to lack of evidence.