Letter from the Ombudsman of the 2nd Authority for Television and Radio, David Regev:
In your complaint, as well as in the many others that were received, you protested things that were expressed by one of the contestants on “The Voice”, which is broadcast on Channel 2 by the franchisee “Reshet”.
The complaints claim that in the course of the program broadcast on 19.12.12 a contestant told about his participation in the American talent show “American Idol”, during which he hugged one of the mentors, the singer Jennifer Lopez. According to him, during the hug his hand “fell by accident” so that he touched her buttocks [quotes in the original broadcast]. The complaints claim that this act constitutes sexual harassment, and that the show’s host, Michael Aloni, not only did not protest the story, he chuckled at it, and offered to “warn” the mentor Sarit Hadad of the contestant.
Following the many complaints received, the Ombudsman of the 2nd Authority opened an inquiry, in the course of which it queries both the franchisee, and the Television Broadcast Division which has oversight over the program.
The franchisee’s response is appended herein, in which it claims that the contestant, like any other, signed a statement that he was never convicted of a criminal offense and that there are not and have never been criminal investigations against him. It is further stated that the matter at hand is a joke, that the singer Jennifer Lopez laughed at it herself, and moreover, never lodged any complaints about the incident. The franchisee added that what was said, was said jokingly and did not hint in any way at sexual harassment.
In its response, appended herein, the Broadcast Division of the 2nd Authority stated that it found the statements by the contestant and the host inappropriate, and made a note to this effect to the franchisee.
Following the complaints, I watched the relevant segment of the show, and found it outrageous.
Is there any room to give legitimacy to the actions of the contestant merely because no complaint was lodged, as the franchisee claims, or because the singer herself laughed it off? (By the way, the franchisee is relying, in this, on the testimony of the contestant who made the statements, not on any examination it conducted). Is there any room for sexist statements such as these regarding a mentor participating in the Israeli program? Was it not more appropriate that she should be treated with respect, the same as the other mentors? As I said, the statement was outrageous and had no place on the show.
If it was a joke, as the franchisee claims, it was an unfunny and tasteless joke that was better left unsaid. In today’s world, in which women’s bodies are continually objectified and are presented as sexual objects, I find that the appropriate thing to do would have been to be respectful towards them, and it would have been preferable for the franchisee to show more sensitivity, and leave that segment out of the broadcast.
I join in the position taken by the Broadcast Division who found these things to be inappropriate and informed the franchisee of this finding.
I am forwarding this response with my finding to the franchisee as well.