Prime Minister Mark Rutte has condemned the ‘idiots’ who posted racist abuse online about Sylvana Simons following the TV presenter’s decision to go into politics.
In his weekly press conference, Rutte described the response by some social media users as ‘repulsive’ and the actions of an ‘absolute minority’. ‘Thankfully we are cut from a different cloth in this country,’ he added.
The prime minister also said that a ‘Farewell to Sylvana Simons Day’ being organised through a Facebook page should not go ahead. Asked if he was prepared to talk to the group’s organiser, Donny Moreiro, Rutte replied: ‘Do you really think I’m going to go around paying attention to every cretin in this country who is completely off his head?’
Rutte said he valued Simons’s decision to stand for parliament next year, while making plain he had no sympathy with her chosen political party, Denk, a group founded by two Muslim MPs who were expelled from the Labour party (PvdA) last year.
The public prosecution office is investigating the comments made about Simons online to see if any users should be charged with insulting or discriminatory behaviour. Rutte said there was no need for new laws to tackle online abuse: ‘We need to learn that you are allowed to say things, but some things don’t need to be said.’
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