VRT offices searched in wake of Bart De Pauw dismissal

Summary

Antwerp’s examining magistrate’s office carried out a search of VRT’s premises at the weekend following the public broadcaster’s dismissal of one of its stars on sexual harassment allegations

Court acts on own

The offices of the VRT were searched at the weekend for evidence of illegal behaviour by TV personality Bart De Pauw. The examining magistrate of Antwerp ordered the search following De Pauw’s dismissal from the public broadcaster last week due to complaints of sexual harassment.

VRT’s CEO, Paul Lembrechts, announced last Thursday that they had fired De Pauw following a number of discussions with several of his colleagues. The women said they had over the last 10 years been harassed by De Pauw in one form or another. According to Lembrechts, De Pauw has made inappropriate comments, sent “pornographic” text messages and stalked women at their homes.

None of the women nor the VRT have pressed charges, but Antwerp’s magistrate decided to open an investigation to see if there could be a legal case. Digital media was searched, and investigators spoke to Lembrechts and several of the victims. Investigators have emphasised that any case would be filed against De Pauw (pictured) and not against VRT.

De Pauw, 49, has been a part of the Flemish broadcaster for more than 30 years. He began as a scriptwriter and actor in a 1985 comedy about a secondary school class and went on to be a constant presence in series, quiz shows and talk shows as writer, producer and in front of the camera.

De Pauw was with TV producer Woestijnvis for 11 years, during which time it had an exclusivity contract with VRT. He left that post in 2008 and co-founded production house Koeken Troef!, continuing his long collaboration with VRT.

His latest project was as host of the game show Twee van de zesde macht (Two to the Sixth Power), which aired on Sunday evenings. The programme has now been cancelled.

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