Ra­dio host off the air after sex­ual-ha­rass­ment al­le­ga­tions

Gabi Gazit takes leave fol­low­ing com­plaints by 4 women

The Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By AMY SPIRO

After four women ac­cused ra­dio host Gabi Gazit of ha­rass­ment and as­sault, he an­nounced Thurs­day evening he would be tak­ing a leave of ab­sence.

On Tues­day, jour­nal­ist Dana Weiss ac­cused Gazit on Twit­ter of forcibly kiss­ing her on the mouth ev­ery time they would meet in the hall­way when they worked to­gether 15 years ago.

On Thurs­day, three more women came for­ward, as Gazit – who up un­til now hosted a show on 103FM – de­nied al­le­ga­tions he seemed to ad­mit ear­lier in the week.

Post­ing on Face­book on Thurs­day, Shim­rit Scornik Pe­leg said the ra­dio host at­tacked her 13 years ago.

“You have no shame,” she wrote. “A pa­thetic liar. You kissed me on the mouth as well. A wet, dis­gust­ing kiss that will ac­com­pany me the rest of my life.” Scornik Pe­leg said she was just start­ing out in her ca­reer in me­dia re­la­tions when she en­coun­tered Gazit in a kitch­enette at a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion.

“You pushed me against the fridge by sur­prise,” she wrote. “It’s hard for me to even think about it again.”

And a woman speak­ing anony­mously on Army Ra­dio on Thurs­day morn­ing said Gazit at­tacked her when he was her land­lord.

“I came to ex­tend my con­tract, and he knocked me on to the bed and kissed me against my will,” she said.

Shortly after that al­le­ga­tion was made, a woman who worked with Gazit at 103FM 10 years ago told Haaretz that he touched her against her will and warned her against com­plain­ing.

“He would freely touch and ca­ress women in the of­fice and no­body said any­thing,” said Racheli Fish Ben-Is­rael. “One day he touched her rear, and when she asked him to stop he joked, ‘Why, be­cause you’ll com­plain to the po­lice?’ I said, ‘No’ and he said, ‘Right, be­cause there are things you don’t do.’”

Weiss, Chan­nel 2 News’s chief po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst, ap­peared on Army Ra­dio Thurs­day morn­ing to dis­cuss her ac­cu­sa­tion and de­fend her­self.

“It is 2017 and what may have been okay once is not okay now,” she said. “I don’t even know if it was mean­ing­ful to him – he just passed by and kissed me on the mouth be­cause, why not? Be­cause he could.”

Weiss said in the two days since she first spoke out, she has been doubted and crit­i­cized, and “now I un­der­stand why women are silent, why women don’t speak up.” Peo­ple, she said, have im­plied maybe she ex­ag­ger­ated, and maybe it didn’t re­ally hap­pen, and why did she wait so long to say any­thing, that maybe she’s do­ing it just for the rat­ings. “Now think about women who don’t have the plat­form I have. Why would they speak up?”

On his ra­dio show on Sun­day, be­fore he had been pub­licly ac­cused of th­ese ac­tions, Gazit said he wouldn’t be shocked if they were forth­com­ing.

“I have no doubt that soon enough some­one will tell a story about me from 45 years ago, I’m ready for it,” he said on Sun­day, adding: “Last night I told my son, ‘Get ready, be­cause, if we’re talk­ing about sto­ries from 50-60 years ago, I’m next in line.’”

But on Wed­nes­day, Gazit said that Weiss’s ac­cu­sa­tions “never hap­pened, pe­riod.”

On Thurs­day, re­porters were wait­ing for Gazit out­side his of­fice when he fin­ished his show. All he would say to their ques­tions was, “My re­ac­tion was al­ready given on my show” and that he would not be say­ing any­thing fur­ther.

Ac­cord­ing to Or Celkovnik, Gazit re­quested to go on leave and his re­quest was granted.

“There­fore he will not be re­turn­ing to the mi­cro­phone on Sun­day,” Celkovnik wrote on Twit­ter.

“As I said this morn­ing, 103FM un­equiv­o­cally con­demns all ha­rass­ment and sex­ual as­sault and sees the strug­gle against this phe­nom­e­non as hav­ing para­mount im­por­tance.” Celkovnik wrote on Twit­ter.

Gazit is far from the only me­dia fig­ure in Is­rael to be ac­cused of such ac­tions over the past week. On Wed­nes­day, Keshet pres­i­dent Alex Gi­lady stepped aside after sev­eral al­le­ga­tions were made against him, in­clud­ing rape. And on Tues­day, a Haaretz re­porter ac­cused vet­eran TV host Haim Yavin of sex­ual ha­rass­ment. Last year, two women ac­cused the mostly re­tired Yavin of sex­ual as­sault, claims he has de­nied.

Ac­cord­ing to Greer Fay Cash­man, The Jerusalem Post’s long­time me­dia re­porter, Yavin’s be­hav­ior was an open se­cret.

“In the days when I was fre­quently in the tele­vi­sion build­ing as re­porter cov­er­ing the Is­rael Broad­cast­ing Author­ity, fe­male em­ploy­ees would hes­i­tate to get into the rather cramped el­e­va­tor with Yavin, es­pe­cially if no one else was with him,” she said. “They also found ex­cuses when­ever pos­si­ble not to be alone with him in his of­fice.”

(Wiki­me­dia Com­mons)


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