Haaretz journalist quits after women allege sex abuse, some involving minors

Roy ‘Chicky’ Arad, also a poet and singer, said to have forced himself upon girls as young as 14; Arad states he doesn’t recall incidents but apologizes, says he’s taking time off

Roy "Chicky" Arad, 2013. (Screen capture: YouTube)
Roy "Chicky" Arad, 2013. (Screen capture: YouTube)

A journalist for the Haaretz newspaper announced his resignation Wednesday night, ahead of the publication of an investigative report accusing him of sexual misconduct involving minors.

Roy “Chicky” Arad, 43, who is also a poet, singer, artist and political activist, published a Facebook post preempting Thursday’s report by the Ha-Makom website, saying he had informed his superiors that he was quitting Haaretz effective immediately. He also stepped down from a poetry magazine he manages, saying he had found a replacement.

Arad claimed he didn’t remember the actions described in the report, highlighting that many of them took place when he was in his early 20s, around the time he represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000 as part of the band Ping Pong. But he added that he was ashamed of himself, apologized to “any woman who ever felt I hurt her,” and said he was taking an unlimited time off for “self examination.”

In the Ha-Makom story, published Thursday morning, six women accused Arad of sexually abusing or exploiting them, three of whom were underage high school students at the time. The incidents ranged from 1999 to 2015.

The website said a seventh woman, who was also underage at the time of the incident, gave a lengthy testimony — also involving the story of another minor — but then said she couldn’t deal with publishing it at this time, even anonymously.

One woman said that when she was 14, Arad invited her to his home. “The door was open and he was lying in a gown holding his penis in his hand. Without saying anything, he took my head and it seemed clear what he expected me to do in that situation,” she said, adding that it had been the first time she had seen male genitalia and engaged in oral sex.

“I was very young. I was sure we were on the way to falling in love. That happened several times,” she said.

Roy “Chicky” Arad in Tel Aviv, 2009. (Gal deren d/Wikipedia CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Another woman said that in 2003, when she was 16, they met after she sent him poems, and he suggested that she go to his apartment.

“He put music on that sounded like porn,” she said, adding that he had tried to persuade her to join him in bed. “At one stage he came to me and turned me so I faced the wall and started groping me. I don’t remember how long that lasted, maybe a minute or two. I froze … and then I somehow got free, I kind of pushed him.”

She said she fled, while “he shouted at me ‘What, are you a virgin?’ in a very demeaning tone, a tone of ‘What is your problem?'”

Two women said that in separate incidents in 2012 and 2015, Arad met them at a bar when they were drunk, and ended up having sex with them while they were in no state to consent or object.

“It was definitely abuse,” said one of them, who had been 21 at the time while he was 38. “I’m not saying this out of vengeance or victimhood. I just think he’s a very dangerous person. He has his magazine through which he reaches all sorts of girls. He reaches many women under the guise of being feminist and sensitive.”

The report said the story was revealed due to a Facebook post about sexual assault in a group where users share their secrets. Two women posted their stories about Arad, without naming him — but recognized they were talking about the same person.

Arad responded by saying that “since I was exposed to the allegations against me, I have been a walking dead man. Because even if I don’t remember the described events, my heart is broken to hear the women, who carried for up to two decades such negative feelings about me.

“Even if there was no malice in me, blindness is sometimes no less terrible. I am today full of shame at the guy I was back then,” he said.

“Full of remorse, I apologize to any woman who has ever felt I hurt her. As someone whose actions have been aimed at making the world a better place, who viewed himself as promoting and standing with women, I feel like a failure.

“Publicly, but also personally, I cannot continue business as usual when such a heavy cloud is over my head, eating at my soul,” he said. “I am completely halting all my activity for an unlimited time, and going on self-banishment and self-examination.”

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