THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The top editors of the sports department of the Dutch national broadcaster have stepped down after reports that a culture of inappropriate behavior and bullying had been prevalent among staff for more than two decades, the broadcaster said Monday.
The move followed a report prepared last week by outside experts who were asked to investigate behavior at NOS Sport amid a wider inquiry into the public broadcaster following another high-profile case last year alleging bullying at the work on a leading early evening talk show.
“The inventory report contains reports of bullying, (sexual) harassment, discrimination, verbal aggression and integrity issues over a period of more than 20 years,” NOS said in a first response last week.
The broadcaster said at the time that the editorial board of the sports department would step down at an undetermined date in the future. But after reporting in the Dutch media last weekend about working conditions at NOS Sport, the four top editors said they would resign immediately.
“Due to the conversations we have had in recent days about the results of the inventory, the previously announced phased withdrawal has gained momentum,” said general director of NOS Gerard Timmer in a statement on Monday. “We are now entering a phase in which we will look at what the sports department needs in the short term and in the future.”
De Volkskrant reported in its weekend edition that she had spoken to 32 people, including current and former staff members of NOS Sport, and found a culture “in which women felt unsafe and where reports of (sexual) transgressive behavior were not taken seriously. ”
NOS Sport is the largest sports channel in the country and reports on major international events, including the Olympic Games and the Football World Cup.
NPO, the umbrella organization of the Dutch public broadcasters, said it supported NOS Sport leaders’ decision to resign.
“There should be no room for transgressive behavior in public broadcasting,” the NPO said in a statement. “It is essential that everyone feels supported not to accept and correct inappropriate behavior in the workplace, but also that everyone feels safe enough to talk about it.”
The independent investigation committee was set up last year in response to reports of bullying on De Wereld Draait Door — De Wereld Draait Door — a popular talk show that was broadcast on public broadcasting for years. The committee aims to publish its final report before the summer.