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Danish authority to look at film company harassment reports

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Danish authority to look at film company harassment reports
Peter Aalbæk Jensen's Zentropa company will be investigated by The Danish Working Environment Authority. Photo: Finn Frandsen/Polfoto/Ritzau
10:56 CET+01:00
The Danish Working Environment Authority (Arbejdstilsynet) will look into reports of bullying, sexual harassment and humiliation at film company Zentropa.

The authority will look into reports that film producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen – a many-time colleague of director Lars von Trier – groped women and smacked their backsides, reports Ritzau.

“When we hear things like this, we react. And based on the information that has emerged, we will decide how to approach the current issue at the beginning of the week,” the authority’s director Lars Toft Pedersen said via email.

“The Danish Working Environment takes accusations of bullying and sexual harassment very seriously. We always closely assess complaints – including over issues such as these – with a view to inspection,” Pedersen added.

Nine former female employees of Zentropa told newspaper Politiken last week that an inappropriate culture had for a number of years existed at the company.

Reports described how Aalbæk Jensen encouraged sexual humiliation on stage at a Christmas party at which film industry guests were present.

The newspaper also conducted a survey of female members of the Danish Actors’ Association (Dansk Skuespillerforbund), in which 64 percent of the 378 actors that responded said that they had been subjected to sexual harassment by superiors at work.

The Danish Working Environment Authority’s investigation will use “a series of resources to collect information, including individual and group conversations with managers and staff,” Pedersen said.

Aalbæk Jensen told Politiken that the situations described by the nine women had either occurred as a general or recurring ritual at Zentropa or were something that he did not remember, but “probably happened”.

READ ALSO: 456 Swedish theatre stars share stories of sex harassment

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