4 October 2023
Could it be typically Dutch? People gloating when successful compatriots are made fun of in the media? After all, we are envious people.
Those who stand head and shoulders above the rest should be taught a lesson. Whereas in the past it was mainly the tabloids that were guilty of spreading unctuous stories about celebrities, nowadays self-proclaimed quality newspapers also have a hand in it. On television, radio and social media, artists, film stars, footballers and politicians are likewise condemned. Not infrequently, such reporting heralds the end of the careers of those targeted. The ‘news’ is often based on rumours and proven to be false afterwards. By then, it is usually too late for the BN’ers who feature in the messages. They have already been condemned by the media. The misplaced recriminations continue to stick to them.
Take Marco Borsato. After accusations of sexually transgressive behaviour during the filming of The Voice of Holland, he was banned from television, you can no longer hear his music on the radio and no more gigs are being booked. Borsato has been cancelled overnight. He hardly dares to leave his house and his marriage is on the rocks. Now that the police investigations have finally been concluded, there appears to be no evidence of the alleged misconduct. The same media that crucified Borsato are already feeling the pressure and are rushing to tell us that another criminal investigation is ongoing against the singer. My prediction: that investigation will also not result in prosecution.
Tom Egbers appears to be the next victim of trial by media. Destroyed by an article in the Volkskrant. The presenter allegedly bullied an employee of NOS Sport on the editing floor and called her ‘the axis of evil’. Seventeen years ago. After their relationship ended. No prosecutor will prosecute Egbers for these remarks, but apparently that matters little to the writers of such articles. Egbers quit his job as a sports commentator after 40 years due to all the commotion.
In a world where the virtuous proclaim their moral superiority daily, the media in particular should be mindful of the presumption of innocence. A suspected singer is innocent until proven otherwise in court. Until then, he may just keep singing his songs. Even though they are not great.
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This column ‘Borsato’ was written for Den Haag Centraal. Raymond de Mooij wrote a monthly column about what he experienced in his practice.
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