Israeli TV hosts backtrack 'prize' offer for harassment victims

Television presenters Paula and Lion Rosenberg try to blame 'technical error' for gaffe.

October 17, 2017 17:19
1 minute read.
Israeli TV hosts backtrack 'prize' offer for harassment victims

Woman in red shirt with angry look. (photo credit: INGIMAGE PHOTOS)

After the shocking revelations about the decades of abuse allegedly perpetrated by Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, it seems like everyone is talking about sexual assault and harassment.

That includes two morning show hosts on Israeli TV, who faced a fierce backlash after they offered women to share their stories - in exchange for the chance to win concert tickets. "Write to us if you have ever been sexually harassed, and you could win two tickets to see Dana Berger in concert with Yermi Kaplan and Chemi Rodner," read the chyron during Channel 2's show "Healthy Morning" with husband-and-wife team Paula and Lion Rosenberg.

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The reaction was swift and brutal, with viewers decrying the crass insensitivity and tasteless commercialization of assault victims.

But at first, Keshet, which produces the show, claimed it was a technical error, that the chyron - the banner across the bottom of the screen - had accidentally mixed together two separate texts. On social media Paula Rosenberg slammed those journalists "who were celebrating a mistake."

The only problem with the explanation? Rosenberg herself had also read aloud the same message - that if you share your story with the viral hashtag #metoo "I think it's a kind of therapy and also, you could even win a prize for this " Rosenberg at first said that she was simply reading the teleprompter, which suffered the same technical error as the on-screen graphics.

Later, however, she offered a fuller apology for the incident. "I want to apologize in my name in the name of the show," she wrote. "Our intentions were good, but along the way it went wrong in many ways, with unfortunate technical and judgment errors and a changing teleprompter - that's how it is during live TV. I take full personal responsibility for the mistake and apologize again to anyone who was hurt. Our intentions were only to bring awareness and god forbid we are not handing out prizes for it."

Berger, the singer and songwriter whose concert was in question, wrote on Facebook that she was "horrified at the cynical way tickets to my show were handed out on the back of victims of harassment and assault." Berger said she was convinced that it was an inadvertent error on behalf of the show and apologized to anyone who was hurt.

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