Simon Spies’ ‘morning bun girls’ demand apology from holiday company he founded

Not too dissimilar to the set-up at the Playboy Mansion, the girls were expected to have sex with their employer and discarded once they had served their purpose. For S&M, they were paid extras

Denmark has really changed. Barely a decade ago, a life celebrating the life of one of its most loveable rogues hit the cinemas. It ended up selling 314,545 tickets and winning four Robert awards – the country’s answer to the Oscars.

But today Simon Spies, the package holiday pioneer whose champagne lifestyle never failed to bring a smile to tabloid newspaper readers in the 1960s and 70s, is more likely to be a catalyst for revulsion than rejoicing.

A large legion of former employees have told the makers of a DR documentary how they risked losing their jobs if they turned down Spies’ sexual advances. It was either ‘Simon says’ or a pink slip.

Most were aged just 15 to 18. Known as ‘morgenbolledamer’ (morning bun girls), they were principally employed for their looks and expected to have sex with their employer. 

Spies Group distances itself from founder’s actions
“When they got too old, wanted to do something else, or weren’t good enough, they were just replaced by someone else,” a former Spies Rejser employee, Lise Lotte Breeden, told the makers of ‘Spies og morgenbolledamerne’, which is available via from today. 

As well as performing sexual favours for Spies, which they were paid extra for – the morgenbolledamer had a number of other peculiar duties, including washing his hair, wiping his back and playing tennis with him.

A handful of the former morgenbolledamer have accordingly demanded an apology from Spies Group, the company that via a few name changes is still in essence the same as Spies Rejser, the company founded by Simon Spies in 1956. 

Spies Group has not responded to the demands and declined to take part in the documentary, but it has informed DR that it strongly distances itself from the actions of its founder.

Sadistic tendencies not covered by feature film
Some of the salacious details are referred to in Christoffer Boe’s film ‘Spies & Glistrup’, which starred ‘Game of Thrones’ star Pilou Asbæk in the leading role.

At the time of its release in 2013, Glistrup’s daughter Anne-Marie Glistrup told BT that “the movie is pure fiction” while Spies’ daughter Janni, who inherited her father’s fortune following his death in 1984, completely distanced herself from it.

However, it leaves out how Spies had sadistic tendencies and would pay morgenbolledamer extras if they allowed him to be violent towards them. On one occasion, he even broke a young woman’s arm. 

“He had to cross boundaries after all. That’s how Simon was. He was extremely borderline-crossing,” a former morgenbolledame, Charlotte Nielsen, told the documentary makers.

Nevertheless, many of these details were public knowledge before the making of this documentary. For example, it is well documented how Spies always retained three ‘morgenbolledamer’ whose provision of freshly baked bread rolls for breakfast was only part of the services they were expected to provide.

Tolerated at the time, but not today
Defenders of Spies might point out that the legal age of sexual consent in Denmark is 15 – in 2008, the current foreign minister, Jeppe Kofod, notoriously had sex with a girl that age when he was in his early 30s, seducing her after a political event where he was a guest speaker.

Furthermore, girls of that age frequently exposed their breasts on page 3 of Ekstra Bladet during that period – an archive that the tabloid was charging readers to access until relatively recently. 

The #MeToo movement, which was initially a slow mover in Denmark, has since 2020 helped to root out many rotten apples in Danish society, including several high-profile politicians.

A CPH POST account of his life published in 2011 concludes: “Despite his numerous moral transgressions, Spies will always remain a cherished part of Danish history – an incredibly complex and unique character who captured the hearts and imaginations of an entire country on his own particular journey through life.” 

But perhaps this will need to be amended out of respect to the morgenbolledamer’s demand for an apology – some post-#MeToo editing that underlines how tabloid readers are no longer amused by depraved behaviour, however eccentric it might be.