Israeli International Olympic Committee member Alex Gilady.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Despite being accused of sexual harassment, Israel’s International Olympic Committee member Alex Gilady will remain the vice-chair of the Tokyo 2020 Coordination Commission.
Gilady has been in Tokyo over recent days assessing preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games with the rest of the commission, including chair John Coates, who insisted there was no reason for the Israeli to sit out the trip.
“I am aware of the allegations,” Coates said. “I am also aware that he strongly disputes those allegations and that his lawyers dispute the allegations in the Israeli press.
“The IOC has been kept fully informed of all of the legalities he is pursuing at the moment. He is entitled to due process and he denies them, he strongly disputes them. “So, there is no basis for him not to be here, that is our position.”
The IOC’s internal ethics and compliance department, said last month that it was “looking into” the allegations made against Gilady after which a decision will be made as to whether to refer the case to the body’s independent Ethics Commission for a final verdict.
Despite the controversy, Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori invited officials to stand and sing happy birthday to Gilady, who turned 75 on Saturday, during an IOC Coordination Commission dinner on Tuesday night.
Gilady took a temporary leave from his position as Keshet Media Group president last month, but said that all the allegations are false “and I will take the necessary legal steps to defend myself against them.”
In the most serious accusations against the media group’s president and co-founder, a woman accused Gilady of rape on Channel 10 News. The woman, identified only as a former journalist, said Gilady took her to his home around 20 years ago, when she was applying to host a new Keshet TV program.
The woman said Gilady mentioned two accomplished female journalists and said he was responsible for their success: “Everyone comes through this room.” The woman said Gilady then raped her.
A week earlier, Channel 10 anchor Oshrat Kotler said that around 20 years ago Gilady made her an “indecent proposal” while she was applying for a job.
That was followed up by claims from Haaretz reporter Neri Livneh who said she was called to a work meeting with Gilady in the late 1990s.
He suggested she accompany him home, she said, where he changed into a robe, exposed his genitals to her and instructed Livneh to “talk to it.”
Gilady did not dispute Livneh’s accounts of the evening but said that it was in no way work-related. “What adults do in their lives, in their private homes in the context of personal relationships, is a private matter,” he claimed.
Gilady is also a member of the Olympic Committee of Israel.
“The Israeli Olympic Committee condemns any act of sexual harassment and will continue to act in order to enable a safe training environment for every athlete,” the OCI said last month.Amy Spiro contributed to this report.