Famous plastic surgeon sentenced to 10 months in prison for sexism

Famous plastic surgeon sentenced to 10 months in prison for sexism
The surgeon was invited by the conservative student association KVHV. Credit: Campagne ROSA

Famous Belgian plastic surgeon Jeff Hoeyberghs (60) has been sentenced to 10 months in prison (five suspended) for sexism and incitement to hatred and discrimination during a guest lecture in 2019.

In December 2019, Hoeyberghs was invited to give a lecture at the University of Ghent (UGent) by the Catholic Flemish Students' Union (KVHV), where he made a number of sexist and derogatory statements about women.

His comments included: "Women want the privileges of male protection and money, but they do not want to open their legs anymore"; "We have given women dishwashing machines and cleaning ladies, until they themselves became superfluous"; and "You cannot treat a woman like an equal without becoming her slave."

In the same lecture, Hoeyberghs said that women are not suitable to become scientists as they "always let emotions get in their way," and that prisons, psychiatric institutions and rehab centres are "filled with children of single mothers."

Nearly 1,500 complaints

Following the lecture, of which video fragments were shared online, the Institute for Equality of Women and Men received nearly 1,500 complaints.

"Normally, we receive that number per year," they stated in court at the beginning of December 2021, reports De Morgen. "Hoeyberghs' two-hour lecture was sexist, derogatory and unfriendly to women. This causes damage, both to the women individually, but also to society in general."

According to a lawyer of the Institute, Hoeyberghs presented himself as a whistleblower, reports VRT. "He wanted to warn his audience, mainly young men who are susceptible to extreme opinions, of what they can expect if they are not careful."

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Hoeyberghs' comments were not unintentional but "long-winded, well-aimed, repeated, particularly vulgar, women-unfriendly and hateful statements," the chair of the court in Ghent said. They "encourage psychological and physical violence against women. The defendant has no sense of guilt."

The court sentenced Hoeyberghs to 10 months in prison, half of which was suspended, and an €8,000 fine. The sentence also included a ban on holding public office for five years and an obligation to pay damages of €1,489 to the Institute for the Equality of Women and Men and €1,000 to the University of Ghent.

Hoeyberghs was not present at the judgement but stated on Twitter that he would appeal: "I will be appealing as soon as possible, so I have NOT been convicted yet! But this can count as damage to my reputation."

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