(photo credit: ROEI HERTZLICH / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
After a series of assault and harassment accusations against him, Keshet president Alex Gilady announced on Wednesday morning that he would take a temporary leave of absence from his position.
However, he continued to deny all the allegations.
“I am stepping aside temporarily from my job at Keshet until my innocence will be proven,” he said. “I will fight to prove my innocence of these baseless accusations.”
Gilady, who co-founded Keshet and served as CEO for three years, added 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 on Tuesday night. 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.
“He brought me to his room with all these televisions and said ‘look – I control all of this,’” the woman said. “I barely managed to respond and I found myself on the floor. He tried to kiss me.”
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.
Channel 10 News anchor Tali Moreno said they conducted a polygraph test on the accuser, which supported her claims.
Last week, Channel 10 anchor Oshrat Kotler said that around 20 years ago Gilady made her an “indecent proposal” while she was applying for a job.
On Sunday, Haaretz reporter Neri Livneh 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 on Sunday 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.
After Gilady’s announcement, Drorit Wertheim, chairwoman of Keshet’s board of directors, said, “Starting today, Alex Gilady will not serve as Keshet’s president.”
She did not address his potential future with the company.
Gilady is also a member of the International Olympic Committee and has been since 1994, when he was working for NBC Sports. He is the only Israeli member of the committee and was recently chosen as part of the Paris 2024 coordination commission.
A spokesman for the IOC told The Jerusalem Post
that “the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer is currently looking into the situation and will report to the IOC Ethics Commission.”
Gilady is also a member of the Olympic Committee of Israel. A spokeswoman for the OCI told the Post on Wednesday that it was shocked by the accusations against him.
“The Israeli Olympic Committee condemns any act of sexual harassment and will continue to act in order to enable a safe and safe training environment for every athlete and athlete.”
On Tuesday night, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel issued a call for Gilady to be fired from his position over the allegations.
In a letter to Wertheim, she said that while Keshet’s chairwoman had spoken out in support of the accusers and their testimony, “The time has come to convert words into deeds and immediately announce the end of his official duties, including the termination of his term as president of the company.”
Gila Oshrat, the chairwoman of WIZO Israel, said that Gilady’s stepping aside was a good move, but not enough.
“If Mr. Gilady understands that he needs to suspend himself from a public position then his move to ‘the side’ is not enough,” Oshrat said on Wednesday.
Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman who is the chairwoman of the Knesset Committee for the Advancement of the Status of Women, called on Keshet to support women making claims against Gilady.
“[Keshet] must take a clear and unequivocal stand and send a sharp message to other employees that the company has zero tolerance for harassers,” Touma-Sliman said.