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Women Journalists: Alcoholism Does Not Equal Abuse

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Women Journalists: Alcoholism Does Not Equal Abuse

#metoo

Photo: Metoo í Borgarleikhúsinu/Facebook.

A group of 102 women in Icelandic media have released a statement protesting against sports journalist Hjörtur Hjartason’s continuing to work in the industry, Kjarninn reports. Hjörtur was sent home from the World Cup in Russia due to “objectionable behaviour.” National broadcaster RÚV issued a complaint against Hjörtur for harassing another journalist at the event, Edda Sif Pálsdóttir. Hjörtur is also reported to have attended a press conference while under the influence of alcohol.

Edda Sif sued Hjörtur in 2012 for bodily assault while they were working together at national broadcaster RÚV, later withdrawing the lawsuit following an apology from Hjörtur. RÚV fired Hjörtur following the incident. In 2014, Hjörtur was sent on leave from another media company, Stöð 2 after attacking a colleague.

In a recent interview with Fréttablaðið, Hjörtur attributed his behaviour in Russia to a continuing battle against alcohol abuse. The women's statement challenges this answer.

“Alcoholism is a serious disease. It does not however automatically lead to acts of violence,” the statement reads. “We, women in media, find it inadmissible that a person who has repeatedly violated his colleagues is continually given new opportunities in the media industry on the grounds that he has quit drinking. We refuse to work under such conditions.”

The statement further demands that violence and assault be taken seriously within Icelandic media, and specifically by Hjörtur’s superiors, who are encouraged to take the #metoo movement to heart.

Update: Hjörtur has since resigned from his position, stating in a Facebook post that “Alcohol consumption is truly no excuse for such behaviour.”

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