Flemish government executive, target of ‘tactless TV gag’, accepts apology
Share article:
Share article:

Flemish government executive, target of ‘tactless TV gag’, accepts apology

Ayan Mohamud Yusuf, government executive, not cleaner. © Belga

A Flemish government employee who appeared unexpectedly on a satirical TV programme showing her as a cleaning worker has made her peace with the show and its presenter, she posted on Twitter.

Ayan Mohamud Yusuf is a government official who works in the private office of Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon (N-VA). She is also a child of Somalian refugees, and arrived in Flanders at the age of 17.

The TV show De ideale wereld is a satirical comedy, modelled somewhat on The Daily Show from the US or Mock the Week from the UK, which uses real news reports to make satirical points.

In the extract in question, viewers were shown Flemish ministers ending a meeting, while staff cleared up behind them. The camera focussed on Yusuf, while the presenter, the Dutch comedian Jan Jaap Van der Wal, commented, “Here we see a black woman who has to come to clean up as old powerful white men leave the conference room”.

My mother and I had to cry when we saw it,” Yusuf told Het Nieuwsblad later. Her shock was not only personal, she said, the comments were also insulting to all cleaning staff everywhere, particularly in these times of pandemic, when cleaning is of the utmost importance.

According to sources who saw more of the official video than was seen in the clip used on the show, Jan Jambon himself – the most powerful old white man in the room – had taken part in wiping down the furniture before leaving.

The outrage took on proportions the TV producers cannot have imagined, and a reconciliation was clearly required. The programme’s producers and its presenter have now apologised.

I am happy that things have been cleared up between Jan Jaap and DIW and me”, she said. “I am relieved that he understands what hurt me so deeply. You can get something positive out of every situation. We leave this behind and focus on the future again. From the bottom of my heart, I thank everyone who supported me. Through you, I have regained my strength.”

Latest news

More politicians than ordinary citizens at the Conference on the Future of Europe
The second Plenary of the Conference took place on Saturday in the European Parliament in Strasbourg and discussed the contributions from the ...
Belgium’s Consultative Committee to meet on Tuesday
The next meeting of Belgium's Consultative Committee, scheduled for Friday, has been brought forward to Tuesday at 4:30 PM, according to local media ...
Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Unilever are world’s biggest plastic polluters
Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Unilever were found to be the world's biggest polluters of plastic in a report published by Branded on Monday. Over 11,000 ...
Four men charged with illegally buying thousands of live ducks to hunt on private land
Four Belgian men will appear in court on Monday facing charges related to the purchase of thousands of ducks, which were then released into a private ...
More wolf attacks: 15 deer killed at family resort over the weekend
Fifteen deer were killed by wolves in the Belgian province of Limburg this weekend, between Saturday night and Sunday morning. The deer were ...
Cost of breast cancer still too high for many patients
Breast cancer still carries too high a cost for patients when one in nine women in Belgium will face the disease before reaching 75, according to a ...
Gare Maritime: Brussels’ most exciting new architectural project
A generation ago, the Gare Maritime in the Tour & Taxis industrial site was an abandoned wasteland. It is now a model for urban renewal and ...
Belgium in Brief: Rules For A Fourth Wave
It's the news that nobody wants to hear, but here we go again. Belgium’s council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss ...
Belgian grandparents to walk across Scotland for COP26
A group of Belgian grandparents has set off on a 100 km hike that will take them from Belgium to the Scottish city of Glasgow, just ahead of the ...
Rise in fuel prices will bring Belgian State €547 million in tax, say Workers Party
The sharp rise in fuel prices that have been felt across the continent will bring an additional €547 million to the Belgian State, the Workers' Party ...
Amid backlash, Brussels police chief promises to do better for sexual assault victims
After multiple rallies against sexual violence took place in Brussels last week, with victims offering testimony of poor treatment from police when ...
Person hit by train in Brussels
A person was hit by a train in the tunnel between Brussels North and Brussels Central at around 10:20 AM on Monday, railway network manager Infrabel ...