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Russian media outlets pull journalists from State Duma over sexual harassment scandal

March 22, 13:03 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The allegations come on the heels of the infamous scandal surrounding Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein who was accused of sexual abuse by over 80 women

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© Marat Abulkhatin/Russia State Duma Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. Several Russian media outlets have terminated their cooperation with the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, after its ethics committee cleared senior MP Leonid Slutsky of sexual harassment accusations.

The Russian State Duma’s ethics commission on Wednesday found no signs of "inappropriate behavior" in the case of Chairman of the State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee Slutsky accused of sexual harassment by three female journalists.

On Wednesday, RBC protested the ethics committee’s decision and announced it would withdraw all journalists working in the lower house. The commission’s head Otari Arshba rejected the move as "an attempt to exert pressure on committee members."

On the same day, the Kommersant publishing house also refused to work with Slutsky and the ethics committee. The Dozhd TV channel followed suit on Thursday insisting that the commission should review its decision and carry out a genuine investigation into Slutsky’s alleged harassment.

The Ekho Moskvy radio station and RTVI TV channel announced a similar stance on Thursday.

Sexual misconduct accusations

The commission had looked into two complaints - one from Dozhd TV producer Darya Zhuk and the other from BBC Russian Service’s correspondent Farida Rustamova about being subject to sexual harassment by Slutsky in 2014 and in 2017, respectively. Deputy Editor-in-Chief of RTVI Ekaterina Kotrikadze also accused the senior MP of sexual harassment when she worked for Georgian television seven years ago.

The committee members noted that the complaints were submitted almost simultaneously during the presidential election campaign in Russia and also after a significant amount of time had passed since these alleged "incidents" took place. These facts signal the "selectivity in the female journalists" approach and that their steps had been staged, they said.

The allegations come on the heels of the infamous scandal surrounding Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein who was accused of sexual abuse by over 80 women. These accusations triggered the #MeToo social media campaign. Slutsky earlier dismissed all the allegations against him ridiculing them as an attempt to "depict him as Harvey Weinstein."

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