22 people in court for threats against tv presenter Sylvana Simons

Sylvana Simons. Photo: Denk

In total 22 people are due in court on Wednesday charged with making threats against television presenter turned politician Sylvana Simons.

Thousands of people posted threats and insults against Simons last year, when she took part in anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrations and later announced she was going into politics.

Simons, who plans to attend today’s hearing to ‘show them I am a human being’, was asked by the public prosecution department to indicate which of the 40,000 posts directed at her had the most impact.

‘I want to see these people, because if you are threatened online, you don’t know where the threat comes from,’ she said. ‘It could be anyone, your neighbour or someone you said hello to on the street. That strengthens the feeling of not being safe.’

One of those appearing in court, Freddy Klompmakers from Ter Apel, told broadcaster NOS he regretted making the comment, in which he called protestors, including Simons, ‘apenkoppen’ (monkey heads).

‘I understand she did not like it and I am sorry. I don’t see myself as a racist. I have brown colleagues,’ he told the broadcaster.

Ben van der Kooi from Rotterdam, by contrast, has no regrets about his online statement in which he said ‘Simons Banana’ should pack her bags and go back to Suriname.

‘She was born there and I think most Dutch people have had enough of her,’ he told  NOS.