A senior figure in Israeli television filed a libel lawsuit Wednesday against two female journalists who recently accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior, demanding that they pay him NIS 2 million (almost $600,000) for publishing “baseless slanders” and trying to “take advantage of the #MeToo campaign for their own benefit.”
In the lawsuit, lawyers for Alex Gilady, president of the prominent Keshet Media group, claim that journalists Oshrat Kotler and Neri Livneh “banded together, knowingly or unknowingly, to completely turn Gilady’s life upside down, causing him severe damage, some of it irreversible.”
Gilady announced his “temporary” resignation from his position at Keshet in November, after the two journalists published their allegations and a third, unidentified, woman accused him of rape.
Several days earlier, Channel 10 newscaster Oshrat Kotler claimed Gilady pursued her for a dinner date at a time when he was offering her the chance to host a television show. She said when she rejected his sexually toned advances and pointed out that she was married, Gilady said, “What does that have to do with it? Don’t you know how you move up in Hollywood?”
Kotler, who said she did not consider the incident with Giladi harassment but insisted it was still “indecent,” said she did not speak up earlier because she was worried about the possible impact the revelation would have on her career.
Shortly after Kotler revealed the incident, another journalist, Neri Livneh, who writes for the Haaretz daily, penned an article in which she said Gilady exposed himself to her during a meeting at his home. She added that she chose to speak up about the incident in support of Kotler.
The lawsuit accuses Kotler and Livneh of publishing “horrific libels about Gilady, who is a public figure. They publicly made (false) accusations, sometimes manipulated reality, attributed sexual offenses and ugly behavior to him, and presented him in public as a serial sex criminal, a fraud and a negative person.”
Along with financial compensation, Gilady is demanding that Kotler and Livneh publish “corrections” to the stories they have told.