ITV apologises for The Voice abuse after report criticises failings

The Voice merchandising. Photo: Donald Trung Quoc Don via Wikimedia Commons
The Voice merchandising. Photo: Donald Trung Quoc Don via Wikimedia Commons

Television production company ITV has apologised for its failure to deal with sexual harassment surrounding television talent show The Voice following the publication of its report on the scandal.

The scandal was broken by YouTube programme Boos in January last year, in which dozens of young women linked to the show said they had been harassed by coaches Ali B and Marco Borsato and band leader Jeroen Rietbergen.

Earlier this month, the public prosecution department said Ali B and Rietbergen would face sex crime charges but Borsato would not because of a lack of evidence.

The report, commissioned from law firm Van Doorne by ITV, concluded that the programme did not have enough guarantees in place to combat harassment and that action was not taken quickly enough once reports were made.

In addition, there was also an imbalance of power, which made the abuse easier, the report said. Candidates were placed in an extremely vulnerable position.

‘Some people would appear to have been spoken to about their behaviour informally, but no formal measures were taken,’ the report said.

In total, the investigators interviewed 62 people over a period of nine months. The report covers the period April 2015 to January 2022 when the scandal broke.

‘We apologise to everyone who was subjected to any form of unacceptable behaviour while making The Voice of Holland,’ said Lisa Perrin, who is in charge of ITV’s overseas operations. ‘Our priority is to offer a safe and supportive place to everyone who takes part in, or works on our shows. There is no place for abusive behaviour at ITV Studios.’

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