Dutch government names commissioner to tackle #MeToo issues

By AP News

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government appointed a commissioner Tuesday to tackle sexual abuse and intimidation, after recent high-profile #MeToo cases shocked the European Union nation.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch government appointed a commissioner Tuesday to tackle sexual abuse and intimidation, after recent high-profile #MeToo cases shocked the European Union nation.

In recent weeks, the popular television talent show “The Voice of Holland” has been taken off the air amid complaints of unwanted behavior ranging from sexually-tinged WhatsApp messages to an allegation of rape involving presenters. On Sunday, a senior executive at the country's biggest soccer club quit and apologized for what the club called a “series of inappropriate messages” sent to several female colleagues.

“Recent incidents in the sports and television world show us that the reason for the #MeToo movement in our country is still alive. This must change," said Education, Culture and Science Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf.

“We are working on a culture change in which no one looks away and in which people hold each other accountable for wrong behavior. Because every victim of sexually transgressive behavior and sexual violence is one too many," he added.

The government appointed a respected former lawmaker and labor union leader, Mariëtte Hamer, to a three-year term as the new commissioner, saying her role is to help mold a national action plan to tackle sexually inappropriate behavior and sexual violence.

The announcement came as Labor Party lawmaker Gijs van Dijk quit Parliament after his party said it was launching an independent investigation into several reports about his “undesirable behavior in the private sphere.”

Police said Monday they have received five complaints of possible criminal behavior and more than 20 reports of “inappropriate behavior and possible sexually transgressive behavior” by people linked to “The Voice of Holland.” Prosecutors and police are studying the five complaints to establish whether to open investigations that could lead to criminal charges.

On Sunday, Marc Overmars, a former star player turned sports administrator, quit the Amsterdam soccer club Ajax and apologized for his actions.

"Certainly for someone in my position, this behavior is unacceptable. I now see that too. But it is too late. I see no other option but to leave Ajax,” he said in a statement released by the club.

Last month, hundreds of people staged a #MeToo demonstration in Amsterdam to call for more government action to tackle abuse.

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Author: AP News

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