Sonja Marie Jensen, 26, a Social Democrat member of the City Council in Nyborg, a town in central Denmark, in 2017 became one of the first people in Danish politics to speak about having been sexually harassed, in her case by fellow council members.
“Legal equality is fine, but we don’t have cultural equality,” she said. “I’ve seen it happen, and I’ve seen that it wasn’t just me,” she added.
Nonetheless, change has been slow to come. The momentum increased when a popular television host, Sofie Linde, 30, used the stage during an award show in August to mention that a “TV hot shot” had threatened to destroy her career if she refused to perform oral sex on him. It had happened, she said, during a Christmas party several years ago at DR, the state broadcaster.
“You know who you are and you know I said no,” she said with a firm look at the camera.
Sofie Linde, a television host, helped accelerate a reckoning over sexual harassment in Denmark by telling her story at an award show.Credit…Liselotte Sabroe/Scanpix, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Kristian Madsen, 45, a political analyst and former member of the Social Democrats, said, “Firewood was gathered since 2017, but Sofie Linde was the spark that started the fire.”
Ms. Linde was 18 at the time of that Christmas party, and she said that she had made a point of not naming her abuser because she wanted to target the culture more than individuals. In the weeks after her statement, 1,615 employees in the media industry signed a letter stating that they too were either victims of abuse or knew about abuse in their industry. So did 800 nurses and doctors and 689 academics.
More specific accusations quickly followed. This month, the political leader of the centrist Social Liberal Party, Morten Ostergaard, resigned and admitted several instances of sexual harassment. This week, Mads Aagaard Danielsen, a well-known radio host, was fired from DR after several women and men came forward with evidence of hate messages and abuse from him over several years. Mr. Danielsen has acknowledged many of the accusations, apologized and said he planned to seek professional help.