Sofie Linde wins Speech of the Year for launching Danish #MeToo movement

Award coincides with survey revealing that half of all women in the film industry have reported having unwanted sexual experiences

Sofie Linde knew when she got the gig that she would have a platform to express herself for a change, instead of following the X Factor script … and an opportunity to change Danish society (photo: Sofie Linde Facebook page)
November 10th, 2020 10:36 am| by Ben Hamilton
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Sofie Linde’s speech at the Zulu Comedy Galla 2020 on August 26 has been credited with single-handedly starting the belated Danish #MeToo movement. 

And now it has been named Årets Danske Tale 2020, the award annually handed out to the best speech in the Danish-language sphere by Danske Taler.

According to the jury, Dansk Taler chair Jesper Troels Jensen and Professor Lisa S Villadsen, it was an easy decision to make given the widespread effect the speech has had on Danish society and that “nobody was untouched” – with the exception perhaps of Pia Kjærsgaard

READ MORE: Former immigration minister: Danish MeToo getting “out of hand”

Skillfully highlighting conditions in a sexist culture
The jury highlighted elements of the speech that were commendable on a semantic basis, including Linde’s ability “to let her own ethos (personal credibility) and the situation play together and her use of timing and structure”. 

“A straightforward language, personal stories, humour, repeated assurances that she will not ‘ruin the good mood’ and the masterful use of pauses all contributed to the teasing pain of the speech, which elegantly built up to a shocking climax about the gross sexual harassment that she as an 18-year-old was a victim of,” the jury continued.

“Only in retrospect does the compositional quality of the speech show: all the detached information – about varicose veins, shaved armpits, brunch, a bare pregnant belly, wage negotiations and abuse – turns out to be carefully selected pieces that together depict women’s conditions in a sexist culture.”

READ MORE: Get Your Biering’s: Hygge-sexism and the tribe

Half of all women harassed in film industry
In related news, almost half of all women working in the film industry have reported that they have had unwanted sexual experiences, according to a 2019 survey of 1,485 industry professionals that included 40 interviews.

However, just 5 percent of the women brought up the matter with a union representative, although 42 percent discussed the incident with colleagues, according to the ‘Grænseoverskridende Adfærd’ report.

Speaking to Politiken, the chair of the Danish actors’ association, Benjamin Boe Rasmussen, blamed the industry for not properly reprimanding the perpetrators.

“When some have stepped forward [in the past], it has not had consequences. I expect employers to now take responsibility for the consequences if it can be established that someone has done something that is not right,” he told the newspaper.

READ MORE: Von Trier’s producer rejects Björk’s sexual harassment claim

A quarter of men too
Additionally, just under a quarter of men reported unwanted sexual experiences, with only 6 percent bringing it up with a union representative, and 30 percent bringing it up with colleagues.

In 2017, it was revealed how Zentropa producer Peter Aalbæk Jensen did not discriminate between men and women: if they made a mistake, they got a smack on the arse.

In the case of women, it was normally Jensen who administered the punishment. But for the men, he gave the responsibility to his gay colleague.

But somehow in 2017, despite the widespread allegations made about Zentropa and Jensen, who cheerfully admitted to most of them, the Danish #MeToo movement didn’t get going.

Without Linde, it would still be in the starting gate today.

READ MORE: Who is … Peter Aalbæk?

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