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2 ex-‘Voice of Holland’ stars face sex charges


Prosecutors say two former ‘The Voice of Holland’ stars will be charged with sex offenses related to the once-popular Dutch talent show

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Two former ‘The Voice of Holland’ stars will be charged with sex offenses related to the once-popular Dutch talent show, prosecutors announced on Tuesday. A case was dropped against a third man for lack of evidence.

The show was pulled from the air more than a year ago after a sexual misconduct scandal hit the television ratings juggernaut in one of the most serious #MeToo accounts to have. hit the Dutch entertainment world.

The show first aired in the Netherlands before local versions aired around the world.

Prosecutors said a 41-year-old man will be prosecuted for sex offenses with three women in 2014 and 2018 in the Netherlands and another country. One of the cases is linked to The Voice of Holland. A fourth case, also linked to the show, has been dropped.

A 51-year-old man will also be prosecuted for a sexual offense that allegedly occurred in February 2018 “in or around the recording studios where The Voice of Holland was recorded”, prosecutors said in a statement.

They did not specify the nature of the charges against the two men.

The statement did not identify either man, in accordance with Dutch privacy rules. Dutch media, including the RTL network which aired the show, identified the 41-year-old as rapper and vocal coach Ali Bouali, and the 51-year-old as the pianist and bandleader of the broadcast, Jeroen Rietbergen.

Bouali’s attorney, Bart Swier, said last year that the rapper denied any wrongdoing.

Rietbergen quit the show and said in a statement last year that he had “contact of a sexual nature with certain women involved in the program and exchanged WhatsApp messages of a sexual nature.”

Rietbergen went on to say that after initially viewing sexual encounters “as reciprocal and equal”, he later came to understand that women “may have experienced this very differently”.

He added: “This idea made me realize that my behavior was completely wrong.”

It was not yet known when the two would be tried. Under the Dutch legal system, their lawyers can ask the prosecutors to continue the investigation before the trial.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.