The affected presenter, radio DJ Peter Van de Veire, was candid about the impact the incident had on his life. “Suddenly you become the perverse target of ridicule and hatred. Imagine going to the store with your son. Where people recognize you and just – poof! – start laughing loudly and making obscene gestures! While your son is standing by.”
Van de Veire did not want to comment on how the photos were taken. He merely pointed out that it was a private matter, “which no one else has any business with”. He is disappointed that the intimate material “circulates faster on social media than covid-19”.
Another victim’s lawyer, singer and Belgium’s Got Talentjudge Stan Van Samang, has gone to court. Publication of this type of images carries a five-year prison term and a fine of 80,000 euros, and a penalty of 10,000 euros for forwarding them.
Learn from affair
A third victim, musician Sean Dhondt, calls the impact gigantic and degrading. He hopes the affair is a wake-up call. “What happened to me now may well help other people. So for anyone who has or has been through the same thing or knows someone in the same situation: please be kind to each other.”
According to him, a mistake with sexting can be made “without even thinking about it”. “I am now, unfortunately, a good example to say that.” Van de Veire also said he shouted, cried and cried “what a gigantic calf I have been”.
The Flemish media minister Dalle also hopes that Belgians will learn a lesson from this. Users should be careful with nude photos, but the outside world should not send everything greedily.
“Our lives today are largely digital, our sexuality is part of that. And that is very normal. We don’t have to blush or be ashamed about that,” he told the VRT. “It is something that has become part of the world of young people. That is why we have to deal with it in a good, sensible way.”