Petition calls for ad boycott of Dutch shock blogs branded racist, sexist

The far-right party of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders (centre) has defended the blogs on the basis of freedom of speech.
The far-right party of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders (centre) has defended the blogs on the basis of freedom of speech.PHOTO: REUTERS

THE HAGUE (AFP) - A call for an advertising boycott against two Dutch shock blogs was gathering steam on Wednesday (May 10) after a petition by more than 140 prominent Dutch women accused the sites of misogyny, racism and sexism.

Television presenter Eva Jinek, former Greens party leader Femke Halsema and actress Katja Schuurman were among a group of prominent women who signed the petition over the weekend asking companies to pull their advertising from Geenstijl.nl and its twin blog Dumpert.nl.

The publications have drawn heavy flak in the wake of Geenstijl's lurid response after two female journalists criticised the sites for their attitudes towards women.

Journalists in particular have lambasted Dumpert.nl for using a video rating system of half-naked women instead of stars, which Dumpert calls "reets", derived from the word "rate" but which means a** in Dutch.

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In response, Geenstijl - which describes itself as "tendentious, unfounded and needlessly obnoxious" - uploaded a picture of one of the journalists online with the caption: "Would you 'do' this woman?"

The website has some 88,000 followers on Twitter and two million unique users a month.

An avalanche of lurid Tweets and comments followed, prompting the petition, with women telling advertisers "you contribute to a site where the humiliation of women and racism is the norm, not the exception".

A number of companies and institutions including the Dutch defence ministry have since last week temporarily pulled their advertising.

Lawmakers even debated the issue on Tuesday with the progressive D66 and leftist Greens party calling on government to pull advertising from all sites which are "female unfriendly."

The two blogs, however, were defended by the far-right party of anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, which said a government boycott will have a detrimental impact on freedom of speech and expression in the country.

Meanwhile, Dutch actress Schuurman, who herself has appeared in the nude in several films also drew flak, with some calling her a hypocrite.

Schuurman responded by tweeting a risque picture taken from behind, saying "there's a difference between sex and sexism. The former is great, the latter, stupid."

She called on other women to tweet similar pictures.