Original response from Amit Harpaz on behalf of Reshet, the franchise holder of the Israeli production of The Voice, to the Ombudsman:
All the contestants on the program sign a statement that they have never been convicted of a criminal offense, have not been arrested, and that there is not now, nor has there ever been, a criminal investigation against them. The contestant at hand signed this statement, and to the best of our knowledge has never had such proceedings initiated against him. As long as a contestant has not been convicted, investigated, accused by an aggrieved party, etc. – there is no justification, legal or otherwise, to prevent his participation in the show. Legally, according to the law, in order for sexual harassment to occur – the statement or attitude must be “degrading or humiliating” and must relate to “a person’s sex, sexuality, including his sexual orientation” which is not the case at hand. Likewise – a necessary condition for sexual harassment is a person who was harassed.
According to Mike’s testimony, the incident was a joke that even Jennifer Lopez laughed at (the joke about her buttocks being insured is already public domain) and as far as we know Jennifer Lopez never complained about the incident. The only case in which it is not necessary to have a person who feels harassed is where there are relations of authority or power relations, which are not present here.
As to the casual reference to Sarit being touched – that was said as a joke following the contestant’s story and was not an indication that sexual harassment is accepted or desired.
The opposite: The host joked that he would “warn” Sarit. And the contestant in turn complimented Sarit and said she is good looking in his opinion.
Therefore, we do not see any encouragement of sexual harassment and certainly no justification in calling the contestant a “sexual harasser” or “assaulter” who is likely to “assault again”…
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