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The Voice Creator Responds After O.G. Series Is Pulled From TV Due To Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The Voice of Holland logo
(Image credit: ITV Studios)

As fans wait to see who will return as coaches for The Voice Season 22,the franchise's mothership series The Voice of Holland was pulled off the air recently amid multiple claims of misconduct and abuse by three of its stars. John De Mol, creator of The Voice, has responded to the situation, saying he feels responsible if the allegations turn out to be true, but does claim he was unaware of the accused behavior.

Two of The Voice of Holland’s celebrity coaches, Marco Borsato and Ali B., along with bandleader Jeroen Rietbergen — who is John De Mol’s brother-in-law — were reported by the Dutch news investigative program Boos to have been involved in several incidents of sexual misconduct with contestants over the past 10 years. John De Mol, who ran the competition series from 2010 to 2019 but is no longer involved, spoke to Boos about the investigation. 

I absolutely feel responsible. That doesn’t mean that I saw things and tried to cover them up, or condoned things that should not have been condoned. This discussion is about one thing: People have been hurt. There are victims and their interests should come first.

John De Mol denied having any knowledge of the alleged incidents, other than one accusation against Jeroen Rietbergen in 2019. At the time, The Voice of Holland formally apologized to the accuser, De Mol said, and his brother-in-law was warned that if more incidents came to light, he would be fired. The bandleader reportedly resigned on January 15 after admitting to sending sexually explicit images and text messages to contestants.

Marco Borsato and Ali B., meanwhile, are accused of inappropriately touching underage contestants on the spinoff The Voice Kids, THR reported, and Ali B. faces several additional accusations from former The Voice of Holland contestants, including one who said he raped her in his recording studio. Both have denied the allegations against them.

It’s too soon to speculate on the future of The Voice of Holland, John de Mol said, until the investigations are complete. ITV Studios, which produces The Voice formats worldwide, has commissioned an external investigation into the accusations Boos reported. It’s possible the singing competition has seen its last day, its creator said, though he also voice his approval for the tentatively temporary stoppage. He also said:

I think you can only start discussing the future of The Voice after everything [comes out]. I can’t tell you if The Voice will be back next year or if it will never come back.

John de Mol is a Dutch TV producer who is known for creating and producing a number of popular game shows and reality shows that have been picked up for domestic remakes in the United States, including the social-experiment-meets-reality-TV series Utopia, as well as Big Brother, Deal or No Deal, Fear Factor, and The Voice. He was credited as an executive producer on the history-making American version of The Voice during the earliest days of its 500+ episode run, from 2011 to 2013.  

Heidi Venable
Heidi Venable

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Can usually be found rewatching The West Wing instead of doing anything productive.