Tuesday 24 September 2019

Shock blogs row escalates as 100 prominent women call for boycott

The call on advertisers to boycott shock blogs Geen Stijl and Dumpert has taken a new twist after both the Volkskrant and NRC published an open letter signed by 100 women from the media and entertainment worlds calling for change.

The letter, signed by the likes of journalist Eva Jinek, comedian Claudia de Breij and ex-politician Femke Halsema, points out to advertisers – McDonalds, Jumbo, Rabobank, Coolblue, funeral insurance company Yarden, the Efteling theme park and homeowners’ lobby Vereniging Eigen Huis plus the tax service – that they ‘are paying the salaries of the most influential trolls on the internet’.

‘You are supporting a site where the humiliation of women and racism is the norm, not the exception,’ the women write.

The ban was also supported by education minister Jet Bussemaker and transport and infrastructure minister Melanie Schultz van Hagen. Speaking on Sunday’s Buitenhof TV show, Bussemaker said: ‘Emancipation doesn’t end when you pass a law. You have to take a stand against practices you see in society.’

The dispute dates back to April when Rosanne Herzberger wrote a column calling for the boycott and was subsequently pilloried on GeenStijl. Her plea was taken up later by Loes Reijmer of the Volkskrant.

Editor Bart Nijman then placed a photograph of Reijmer on the site with the question ‘Would you do her?’, resulting in a barrage of graphic reactions describing how readers would like to sexually assault her.

Responsibility

In its editorial the NRC answers its own question ‘Do advertisers have a responsibility when it comes to the nature of the medium they use?’ with an unequivocal yes.

‘The paid presence of advertisers on these controversial internet fora legitimises them, especially when the advertisers in question are serious companies and organisations.

‘The argument that companies are not aware where their digital ads appear is a nonsense. Even if the placing of ads has been outsourced to advertising agencies and robots there is always the option of explicitly stating where you don’t want your ads to go,’ the paper said.

Silence

During talk show Pauw RTL journalist Roderick Veelo accused Rosanne Hertzberger of ‘wanting to stifle GeenStijl by curtailing its ad revenue, effectively putting it ‘on black’  to which Herzberger responded she ‘would not shed a tear if the blogs disappeared but that her priority was to tackle sexism and racism.

Ex GeenStijl columnist Annabel Nanninga  – in a column in the NRC –  called the rape scenarios ‘strong little comments’ but nothing to be afraid of. ‘Those commenters won’t do anything and these so-called scandalised girls know it,’ she writes.

Nanninga says she herself was bombarded with ‘muck’ for her anti-refugee and anti-Islam stance but ‘never lost a minute’s sleep because of it’, she writes. ‘

According to Nanninga, ‘the agenda of these moaning little women and their brave social media knights in shining armour is all too obvious: GeenStijl has been a thorn in their side for fourteen years and must be destroyed. This time with ‘sexism’ as an excuse.’

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