Oudkerk hits back over sex scandal

21st January 2004, Comments 0 comments

21 January 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Forced to resign from the Amsterdam City Council over a prostitution scandal, Rob Oudkerk hit back on Wednesday saying he will not let himself or his family be broken and is considering legal action against the media.

21 January 2004

AMSTERDAM — Forced to resign from the Amsterdam City Council over a prostitution scandal, Rob Oudkerk hit back on Wednesday saying he will not let himself or his family be broken and is considering legal action against the media.

"Ruining someone politically, okay. But ruining someone privately, no way. I don't break. And I will not let my family be broken," Oudkerk said at a press conference in the Dutch capital.

The former Amsterdam Education and Social Affairs Alderman was forced to resign on Monday night after revelations that he visited street prostitutes on the Amsterdam Theemsweg and surfed to pornography websites on a work-supplied computer.

Speaking candidly about the matter, Oudkerk said the past 10 days had been mentally very tough, that he was physically and mentally unstable and that the pressure on his family was inhuman, news agency ANP reported.

He also lashed out at journalist Heleen van Royen — who sparked the scandal after writing about a conversation she'd had with the Labour PvdA politician in a city cafe — claiming that their conversation was a private matter. "And what is private, should have stayed private," Oudkerk said.

Oudkerk, who also served in The Hague as an MP with the PvdA from 1994-2002, also claimed to have expressly told Van Royen that it was a private conversation and if she had wanted to publish the material, she should not have used his name.

Van Royen, who writes a column for daily Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool, claimed that Oudkerk had admitted on the record to visiting prostitutes, surfing to pornography sites and snorting cocaine at a New Year's Eve party.

Oudkerk has confirmed the prostitution and pornography claims, but has denied he used cocaine. He admits he has been to parties where cocaine was being used.

But Oudkerk also said on Wednesday he had not returned to the Theemsweg after Mayor Job Cohen hauled him over the hot coals for visiting the disputed street prostitution zone last year. But it was this one visit which eventually brought the alderman undone.

The Amsterdam Council resolved last year to close the street prostitution zone — set up in 1995 to give drug addicted prostitutes a safe place to work — after it was revealed the area was a haven for forced prostitution, illegal sex workers and organised crime. It closed last month.

Meanwhile, the outspoken Oudkerk said it was not himself, but newspaper Het Parool which brought his private life into the public domain. But he was not certain whether this was a mistake or an intentional act by the newspaper.

Claiming again he did not give permission for the article to be published, neither to Het Parool nor to Van Royen, Oudkerk said he is considering taking legal steps against the newspaper and possibly other media organisations.

The Editor-in-Chief of Het Parool, Erik van Gruijthuijsen, said he will wait and see what action Oudkerk will take. He also admitted — like Oudkerk — to have lost a night's sleep, but said the newspaper had made a reasonably wise decision to publish the column.

Oudkerk had wanted to stay on as an Amsterdam alderman, but required the faith and confidence of his PvdA colleagues, who had previously been made aware of his visit to the Theemsweg. But that support was not forthcoming on Monday night, when the party asked him to resign.

He also denied he was the target of blackmail and said he wants to step back from the scandal. But despite admitting he was linked "heart and soul" to the public cause, Oudkerk refused to reveal where and with whom he intended to pursue his political passion.

"(But) I am not dead and I am not going away," he said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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