Popular television host accused of bullying, belittling production team

Matthijs van Nieuwkerk on air in 2018. Photo: DWDD via Wikimedia Commons
Matthijs van Nieuwkerk on air in 2018. Photo: DWDD via Wikimedia Commons

Prize-winning Dutch television presenter Matthijs van Nieuwkerk is under fire for bullying and creating a ‘culture of fear’ among staff working for the evening chat show De Wereld Draait Door which was on air from 2005 to 2020.

The Volkskrant newspaper devoted eight pages of its Saturday edition to its investigation, which involved speaking to 70 people involved in the programme.

The paper says that despite being repeatedly told about Van Nieuwkerk’s bullying and outbursts of rage at individuals, senior management at broadcaster BNNVARA failed to take any action.

Several workers suffered from burn-outs, serious psychological issues and panic attacks after being shouted at or belittled in front of others, the paper said.

The broadcaster has now issued a statement in which it said ‘the culture on the editorial floor was too focused on the end result and not enough on the process of working together.’

Too far

‘The pressure of creating a good programme should never be at the cost of our staff,’ the statement said. The programme, which won a string of awards, attracted an audience in the millions and was a big earner from advertising.

Van Nieuwkerk has admitted going too far on occasion and said he was sorry that not everyone felt safe in the working atmosphere.

Nevertheless, he said, the Volkskrant article is a ‘draconian caricature of 15 years of working for De Wereld Draait Door.’ 

Broadcaster BNNVARA has now launched an investigation of its own and halted recording for Van Nieuwkerk’s Christmas popular music programme, De Top 2000 Quiz.

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