«Norwegian» dating service in a Belgian court case
The Belgian authorities wishes to sentence and fine the Norwegian-owned company behind the dating service «Rich Meet Beautiful». They believe that Digisec Media “reduces students to sexual objects.”
The Norwegian founder of the dating service, Sigurd Vedal, has met in court to respond to the indictment. The most prominent charges include “Debauchery, incitement to debauchery and gender discrimination”, according to The Guardian. The case has ended up in the courtroom after a police report by the Free University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles/Vrije Universiteit Brussel).
Suspended imprisonment for six months is claimed for Vedal. This comes on top of personal fines of € 40,000 and € 250,000 from his company, Digisec Media.
The Belgian authorities also require that the company’s advertising material be seized, because «It reduces students to sexual objects».
Trucks advertising for the dating service
The dating service «Rich Meet Beautiful» attracted attention in several European countries when large rolling advertising posters with slogans such as «0,- in study loans? Date a sugar daddy or sugar mama», appeared in the vicinity of campuses.
“We presumed the existence of a sexual counterpart to the registration on this site. The message is: ‘you’re young, you’re beautiful, go out with a sugar daddy!’ Everyone understands what it’s about.” a spokesperson for the Free University of Brussels, Laurent Kennes, comments.
“The University wants the company to pay € 5,000 in redress. The money will be devoted to an institution that fights sexism and prostitution,” Kennes affirms.
The Belgian defence lawyer of Vedal, Eric Cusas, believes that his client is some form of a scapegoat. Dagbladet has not succeeded in getting in touch with Sigurd Vedal. He has previously stated that the dating service is 100% against prostitution. If any of the members break that rule, they are banned immediately.
The Norwegian Consumer Council banned Rich Meet Beautiful’s advertising in 2017.
“This type of marketing clearly breaks with gender equality and is therefore illegal,” Consumer Ombudsman, Elisabeth Lier Haugseth, told NTB at the time.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today