NOS Sport presenter Tom Egbers accused of transgressive behavior

Moderator Tom Egbers showed cross-border and intimidating behavior in the editorial office of NOS Sport, wrote de Volkskrant. According to sources in a detailed article on culture at NOS Sport, the newspaper is aware of “several situations” towards women in the editorial office.

Egbers is said to have had a brief affair with a 22-year-old intern at NOS Sport in 2005. The moderator is said to have harassed her until she responded to his advances. After the affair ended, the newspaper reported that the situation had escalated and Egbers had started harassing the woman. In front of several colleagues, he called them “the axis of evil”, “the poison” and “the snake”. He also made that hand gesture every time she passed him, pretending to slit someone’s throat. The employee reported the incident to the editor-in-chief at the end of 2009. The incidents described have been confirmed by several sources, the newspaper said.

The presenter of NOS Sport regretted his behavior in de Volkskrant. He also regrets the relationship he had with the woman. “I look back on all this as an extraordinarily sad time where I made mistakes. I regret that. Unfortunately, I cannot undo it.”

When asked if NOS was taking any action against Egbers, a spokesman replied that the channel would speak to all the employees named in the article in de Volkskrant.

The woman also told the editor-in-chief that she was approached in 2008 by Janke Dekker, Egbers’ wife. Under pressure, she confessed to her about the affair, which has since ended. Dekker is chairman of MORES, the hotline for undesirable behavior in the cultural and creative industries. According to de Volkskrant, this is also the reason why several NOS Sport employees have not reported misconduct via this hotline. As the newspaper reported, they did not trust that the complaints would be investigated independently. It was previously revealed that Dekker’s duties will be taken over by someone else until April as she is busy with other work. MORES could not be reached for comment Friday evening.

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Former presenter Aïcha Marghadi also shared her story in the article. During her time at NOS, she was frequently bullied in the editorial office. Among other things, she was abused for her origins and ridiculed for her allegedly limited knowledge. Hardly anyone did anything to protect them.

Maarten Nooter, editor-in-chief of NOS Sport, said in a response: “At the time we tried to guide them and help where we could. I don’t recognize myself in the examples she mentioned. It is sad that she has experienced this way.”

She also described in the newspaper an incident with Jack van Gelder, who allegedly gave her the phone number of a well-known soccer player and said: “You Moroccans only do this to each other, don’t you?” Earlier, Van Gelder himself admitted on SBS6 talk show HLF8 that he called a colleague a “whore” or some other expression. According to the newspaper, he repeatedly referred to the woman as a “whore” and also called her “that cunt” in an email.

Culture and Media Secretary Gunay Uslu believes that NOS management and the editor-in-chief of NOS Sport should take action to ensure that transgressive behavior “cannot happen anymore”. She was touched that “employees felt so insecure,” she said in response to the de Volkskrant article.

“These issues are broader in the media sector, and the underlying systemic causes of these issues also need to be examined,” Uslu continued. “The committee of inquiry into behavioral and cultural broadcasters, chaired by Martin van Rijn, takes this into account in its investigation. I urge employees, including ex-employees, to report to the Van Rijn Committee so that their signals are heard there too.”

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In recent months, de Volkskrant spoke to 32 employees, former employees and other stakeholders from NOS Sport. According to the newspaper, the result is that there has long been a culture in which women feel insecure and reports of (sexually) abusive behavior are not taken seriously. Fear reigned among employees, with some feeling intimidated by managers and editors-in-chief.

Most employees only wanted to speak to the newspaper anonymously. Others didn’t want to tell their story just yet, preferring to wait for the external investigation commissioned by the NOS itself.

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