Frans Klein and Frederieke Leeflang, who form the top of the NPO, were in the dressing room with Matthijs van Nieuwkerk when he prepared his controversial response to the Volkskrant investigation.
There is a lot to do about the first statement that Matthijs van Nieuwkerk wrote in response to the Volkskrant investigation into his misconduct. The presenter expressed no regrets and lashed out at two former editors-in-chief. At the insistence of BNNVARA, a second statement was issued, which appeared in the newspaper.
In the locker room
It now appears that Frans Klein and Frederieke Leeflang, who form the top of the NPO, were sitting in Matthijs’ dressing room of his Top 2000 Quiz when Matthijs was working on the offending first statement last Friday.
Frederieke had made an appointment the day before via Top 2000 broadcaster NTR and Frans went along on his own initiative. “It was certainly not decided by me to take him with me,” she now responds in the Volkskrant. “It was completely unknown to me at that time that Matthijs was working on a statement and would ask me what I thought of it.”
‘Then you answer’
Yet it did happen, admits Frederieke. “And if someone asks you at that moment what you think of it, you answer. It would be very strange not to do that at that time.”
Frederieke says she was not enthusiastic about the statement, just like BNNVARA later. Matthijs also told her that he regrets his misconduct and then Frederieke said in her own words that ‘it is of course your statement, but if you say it to us now, then you must also write it down, because I have not heard’.
If so, then it certainly did not impress Matthijs, because that statement simply went to the newspaper.
BNNVARA was shocked. That broadcaster now says it is ‘very surprised’ that the NPO top was in the dressing room with Matthijs. “We have tried in various ways to get in direct contact with Matthijs on this particular Friday. That did not work out,” said a spokesman. They were also not welcome at the recordings of Top 2000.
De Volkskrant is critical: “The involvement of the NPO top in this statement sharpens the discussion about whether the public broadcaster can continue to be the client of the research into the culture of fear at De Wereld Draait Door.”
This criticism is shared by several parties. Show news expert Bart Ettekoven: “That casts quite a questionable look at the whole situation, because they now become responsible – at least Frederieke Leeflang – for that entire investigation. Frans Klein has resigned his duties, Frederieke is still the highest woman at the top there.”
He finds it strange. “How independent is it when you enter Matthijs’s dressing room on Friday, try to persuade him and stop the recordings? That is very doubtful and people are very concerned about that now.”
“What is she doing there?”
Ton F. van Dijk, in the distant past the boss of – then – Netherlands 1, finds it strange. “Oh, oh, what is a chairman of the Board of Directors doing in Matthijs’s dressing room to advise him on a statement? That is operational and not her job! Not even those of Frans Klein, by the way.”
Former KRO director Ton Verlind: “Show that the NPO has lost its way, has no idea of its own responsibilities and that is exactly what causes all those problems and that this research is also in dangerous water.”
Ton: “Well, in any case, this raises a lot of questions.”
TV lawyer Natacha Harlequin in Shownieuws: “The NPO remains the client, but how independent is it really? It has not been said that this investigation has already been contaminated, but as you often say in criminal law: that appearance of possible partiality, of rumbling and that there has been talk… Actually, that should not be there. You can already see that people are concerned about that.”
Opinion maker Ronald Molendijk in HLF8: “The client of the research is the NPO and it now appears that the NPO and the NTR have spoken with Matthijs in the dressing room. Toilet Duck says Toilet Duck is the best and then you have to buy it all or something. It’s not right in any way. Why would you want it this way?”
Politician Mona Keijzer: “Yes, unbelievable.”