In the relevant section, a Flemish government employee, from Somalia, is portrayed as a cleaning worker who has to do inferior work to the strong white man. Flemish Prime Minister Jan Gambon describes the fragment as “shameful”. Broadcaster Jan Jaap van der Waal says in response that he would like to personally apologize to the woman.
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In the satirical program The Ideal World Thursday evening, the Flemish government’s press conference about the “Flemish Resilience” recovery plan is monitored. That in and of itself is not a problem, according to Prime Minister Jean Gambon. “Intense satire that targets public people, such as politicians, should always be possible,” says Gambon. But there is a video in which the presenter says that “old white men” leave the conference room to make room for a black woman who comes to clean.
The woman in the part is an experienced employee of the Flemish government of Somali origin. The fact that she is portrayed on the show as a black cleaner or maid of “strong white men” went the wrong way with Flemish government ministers. The whole government is “in shock.”
“This woman, who one day fled violence in her country of origin, has been working in the Flemish government for more than fifteen years. This came in a joint government response” She was an assistant to a number of prime ministers and prime ministers. Today, she is also essentially responsible for all protocol matters in the government of the Flemish Prime Minister. In this position she receives and directs leaders of national and foreign governments and even heads of state. She does the job excellently, and with great precision. Everyone is full of praise for her. “
When the same lady saw the photos on Friday morning, her reaction was very sad. It appears to be “feeling offended and hurt by the TV makers”. “We were all shocked,” said Prime Minister Jean Gambon. “This is unacceptable and cannot be described as funny,” he says. And although satire targeting public persons should be possible, according to Gambon, this part is unacceptable. “They have now deeply affected a big woman, as well as in the pride of her work. That road is over. Shamed, this word is appropriate here.”
Broadcaster Jean-Gab van der Waal: “My sincerest apologies”
House of Representatives Speaker Jan Jaap van der Waal responds in writing to the strong condemnation of the Flemish government. “In the monologue, we discuss pictures from current events in a humorous way. We make a sarcastic comment. We build ourselves on what we see. The images don’t lie, but in reality they don’t always show the whole truth, and that’s definitely the case here,” says Van der Waal. “With what we know now, we were not going to laugh at this government employee. Of course there was no intention to insult her. We understand that this went wrong. I will contact the employee and personally convey my sincere apologies.” It is still the case.
Meanwhile, VRT has removed the portion of its channels.