Complaints Continue to Flood Norwegian Broadcaster Following Radio Show Host’s Antisemitic Rant
Complaints have continued to flood the Norwegian state-owned broadcaster NRK in the week that has elapsed since a presenter engaged in an extraordinary antisemitic monologue on live radio.
As NRK’s Broadcasting Council prepared for a meeting on Thursday to review the complaints against Shaun Henrik Matheson — who hosts a morning show on NRK — the broadcaster disclosed that it had registered more than 500 protests against Matheson’s on-air admission that he wished the COVID-19 vaccine had failed in Israel.
The overwhelming majority of the 527 communications received by NRK were “critical of the feature,” Erik Skarrud, the Broadcasting Council’s secretary, said on Wednesday, in advance of the meeting.
“There are very few that are supportive, you can probably count those on one hand,” Skarrud added.
One Norwegian parliamentarian said that the scandal involving Matheson proved that the time was right to shutter NRK.
“It is time to close down NRK,” Per-Willy Amundsen of the right-wing Progress Party told the Norwegian daily VG.
Asserting that NRK was a “front for the hatred of Israel and the hatred of Jews,” Amundsen urged that the broadcaster be downsized and sold to private investors.
“That is the best solution,” he said.
Complaints against Matheson have also been filed with the Norwegian police, including one submitted by by ‘Med Israel for fred’ (MIFF) — a pro-Israel advocacy organization in Norway that first drew international attention to Matheson’s antisemitic rant.
On his show on Feb. 3, Matheson claimed that Israel’s progress against COVID-19 could be regarded as good news “only if we think about ourselves and forget about all the abuse and murders the Israelis perpetrate against the Palestinian people.”
He said: “So apparently, numbers from Israel show that among more than 1 million fully vaccinated persons, less than 1,000 were infected. No matter how you twist and turn it, this is good news. Only I wish it was from another country, if you get what I mean. It’s almost as though I wish the vaccine didn’t work. You cannot say that. I’m sorry, I do understand that. Damn it.”
He went on: “We must never forget just what a s***ty country Israel is, it’s desperately important that we never forget. We must never forget what a s***ty country Israel is!”