MK says satirical TV skit about her amounts to sexual harassment
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MK says satirical TV skit about her amounts to sexual harassment

Stav Shaffir claims host on Channel 20 crossed the line when he said she derived sexual pleasure from riding her bicycle

Channel 20's Erel Segal satirizes Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir on a February 29, 2016 show. (screen capture: YouTube)
Channel 20's Erel Segal satirizes Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir on a February 29, 2016 show. (screen capture: YouTube)

Zionist Union MK Stav Shaffir on Wednesday claimed that a satirical skit that aired on a right-wing TV station earlier this week amounted to sexual harassment.

Taking to Facebook, Shaffir slammed Channel 20 for a segment on its show “The Patriots” in which host Erel Segel said the MK derived sexual pleasure from riding her bicycle.

Shaffir, 30, this Knesset’s youngest parliamentarian, explained in a Wednesday Facebook post that the skit took aim at a column she wrote last week for Haaretz on the topic of happiness.

“Recently I was asked to write a column on the topic ‘What makes you Happy?’ So I did, and naturally it was about politics, because I believe that the happiness of the Israeli people should be the top priority within the political framework of a country,” she said in her post.

“I wrote that true leadership must point us in the direction forward, inspire hope in the people, and must work tirelessly to find practical solutions to problems that afflict us all. And at the end, I added a one, non-political sentence where I said that in my personal life, hiking, playing music and riding my bike were things that made me happy,” Shaffir wrote.

It was the last anecdote that Erel Segel preceded to mock during Sunday’s show.

Donning a red-haired wig, Segel imitated Shaffir and listed the various things that would undoubtedly make “her” happy.

“I want to be free and ride on a bicycle without a seat, that is what would make me happy,” he said to a laughing audience and members of the panel.

Chairwoman of the Knesset Transparency Committee Stav Shaffir in the Knesset on July 22, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Chairwoman of the Knesset Transparency Committee Stav Shaffir in the Knesset on July 22, 2015. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Shaffir, who admitted in her post to having “deep” ideological differences with the station, said the sketch veered from the comedic to the offensive.

“I have no problem having tough conversations,” she went on to say in her Facebook post. “But what’s happening, is that when the other side is out of legitimate arguments, they sink lower and lower until it gets to the point of sexually harassing lawmakers.

“After three years in politics, I keep being told not to take these things to heart, I guess it’ll take me a few more years to learn how to,” she concluded.

In response, the TV station said Shaffir’s complaint was rooted in political differences, and claimed that MK “didn’t miss an opportunity to bash Channel 20.”

“We’re finding it difficult to understand the hypocrisy and double standards employed by an MK who several weeks ago sat in Channel 10’s studio and giggled as [political pundit] Tal Friedman put on a red-haired wig and accused her of using drugs and trashing late prime minister Yithak Rabin,” Channel 20 said in a statement.

Erel also dismissed Shaffir’s complaint, and said he was poking fun at himself in the sketch.

“If you listen to the show, you can hear that I use the masculine form — I was poking fun at myself,” he said, charging her “distortion” of the TV show was an effort to silence opponents.

The Council for Cable and Satellite Broadcasting on Wednesday announced it would look into the claims of sexual harassment, after Shaffir’s colleague Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova lodged a formal complaint with the broadcasting regulatory body.

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