Cross-border behavior is widespread throughout the Dutch public broadcaster (NPO), but signals have not been dealt with in a sufficiently professional and decisive manner. That is the conclusion of the Van Rijn committee, which conducted more than a year of research into the working culture at the NPO. That reports NRC Handelsblad. The committee spoke to more than 200 broadcasting employees about workplace culture. About 2,500 people also completed a questionnaire. According to the report, that title Heard nothing, saw nothing, did nothing received, more than 1,484 employees indicated that they had encountered inappropriate behavior “as a target or witness” in the past year. That is three out of four people who completed the questionnaire. The committee writes that it is “very shocked” by these findings.
In the conversations, employees mentioned examples of sexual comments that were often directly addressed to a person. Jokes and comments such as: “Your pants are really tight”, “Do you want to see my carrot?”, “Have you ever been fucked?”, “Why aren’t you wearing that skirt from last week?”, addressing female colleagues as “ pussy,” and asking female colleagues “who would you rather give a blow job, me or…?”, the report states.
Anyone who reacted uncomfortably to this was dismissed by colleagues as prudish or shy. The committee writes: “In conversations, examples have been mentioned of male colleagues who, in the presence of other colleagues – including young women – discussed in the workplace who they had ‘fucked’ at the weekend, about ‘brothels’, ‘jerkoffs’ and ‘whores’. ‘, and jokingly sang sexual songs and pulled down someone’s pants.”
In the case of verbal intimidation, employees talk about a “screaming culture”, with some indicating that this was seen as normal. Employees say that they have experienced or observed that people have been “screamed in people’s faces”, “people have been humiliated until they run away crying”, employees have been verbally abused and employees have been “trampled into the ground”.
Bullying behavior is also common, the interviewees indicated. Examples are: “you will never be good in your position”, “if it were up to me you would not have gotten a permanent contract”, “I don’t believe you can do that”. Employees also report being told that they are “doing everything wrong.” A number of employees even speak of bullying in the form of ‘smear campaigns’ and ‘character assassination’, in which employees’ reputations were damaged by portraying them as unreliable if, for example, they did not complete their work or were not present at work, for example. writes the committee.
Several employees speak of situations in which women in particular, but also young (gay) men, are ‘screened’ and selected on the basis of their appearance. “She doesn’t function, but I enjoy watching her. So she can stay,” for example, was said about an employee. Or: “You only managed to do this because you are an attractive woman.”
Mental and physical intimidation
The research was prompted by an article in De Volkskrant about the working atmosphere at the popular talk show The world goes on (DWDD). Employees of that successful program said that behind the scenes they regularly had to deal with humiliation and outbursts of anger from presenter Matthijs van Nieuwkerk. The report shows that there were also physical threats, he said De Volkskrant. Employees have been grabbed by their throats, pulled over the table, pushed against the wall, physically pushed to the ground, spit in their faces and grabbed by their arms.
READ ALSO. “He got away with everything. Until that article appeared”: a year after the transgressive behavior of Matthijs van Nieuwkerk
Following the conclusions of the report, Van Nieuwkerk took the opportunity to apologize again for his “part in the work culture behind the scenes”. Van Nieuwkerk says he realizes that as a presenter of DWDD he has “an exemplary role”.