In Sweden, a journalist “joked” about Ukrainian prostitutes: the Embassy reacted

In Sweden, a journalist “joked” about Ukrainian prostitutes: the Embassy reacted

Swedish journalist Elaf Ali joked about women from Ukraine – they say that most of them can only be seen in brothels.

The outrageous statement was made in the humorous program “IFS – invandrare för svenskar” (Immigrants for the Swedes) of the public TV channel SVT.

“They’re blonde and blend in with the crowd, so you don’t notice their presence except in brothels.” – said Ali.

Ukrainian women were outraged by such a “joke”, and the Embassy of Ukraine in Sweden demanded from the TV channel apologies

However, the journalist herself did not understand what she should apologize for, and also complained about “racism”.

What happened?

In a scandalous episode of the comedy show IFS on March 7, host Ahmed Berhan asked which group of immigrants received the most residence permits in Sweden in 2022. Journalist and writer Elaf Ali replied that they were Ukrainians.

“But you might not think about it because they’re fair-haired and blend in with the crowd. It can be most noticeable in brothels.”“Just kidding,” she said.

The first to say these words reacted Khrystyna Hevchuk – activist of the public organization “RefugeeHope. UA&SE”, which supports Ukrainians in Sweden.

“Millions of Ukrainian women were forced to leave their homes not in search of “easy work”, but to save their lives and the lives of their children and relatives. The husbands of many Ukrainian refugees remain in Ukraine, fight, give their lives for our opportunity to live…

These are the words of not just an average person at the bar with a glass of alcoholic drink – they are the words of the Swedish journalist, writer and presenter Elaf Ali from the screens of the most famous Swedish TV channel SVT during the IFS program, which is watched by thousands of people. What effect do these words have on society?” – wrote Khrystyna.

The activist emphasized that many Ukrainian women in Sweden received “offers” for prostitution, and also suffered from rape and harassment.

“Yes, the truth is that the people of Sweden take advantage of the difficult situation of Ukrainian women with children, who are forced to survive on 37-71 kroner a day, do not know the language, society. Not everyone helps selflessly and this is frightening.

I am Ukrainian, and I don’t want to be seen as “potential sexual prey”. I have the right to be seen as a person”– added Gevchuk.

Many Ukrainian women agreed with her and tagged the Swedish public broadcaster in the comments, demanding an apology for this episode.

“In addition to a public apology, SVT should either remove or edit the release of the program! An ethics fine wouldn’t hurt either”– commented Ukrainian Oksana Svantesson.

Embassy of Ukraine in Sweden and the ambassador himself Andriy Plahotniuk published statement on the inadmissibility of such “jokes”.

“The Embassy of Ukraine in Sweden is deeply outraged and strongly condemns the words of the Swedish journalist Elaf Ali addressed to Ukrainian women in Sweden.

We consider such statements deeply offensive and completely unacceptable, given the circumstances of full-scale Russian military aggression against Ukraine, which forced Ukrainian women to save their lives and the lives of their children abroad“, the statement says.

The diplomats called on Elaf Ali to issue a public apology, and the management of the SVT channel was asked to “take the necessary measures to prevent similar situations in the future.”

However, Elaf Ali did not apologize, but instead statedthat “Ukrainians are extremely angry” and “bombard” her with comments on Instagram and Twitter.

She also noted that during the program she joked with the imam, Ukrainians and Somalis.

Elaf Ali called the outraged users “hypocrites who pretend to care about women.”

“You’re ‘angry’ about a comedy show’s depiction of reality, not what’s happening or men buying sex? I hope you feel better after venting your disgusting racism.” wrote But on social network X (Twitter).

Subsequently, the program director of the comedy show IFS, Christina Gill, reacted to the scandal in a comment on SVT news website.

The representative of the channel stated that no sanctions are planned against the journalist, because her statements fit into the framework of “freedom of expression”. She also emphasized that IFS is a humorous show, in which there should be jokes “so absurd and twisted that it is impossible to take them seriously.”

“This is a program that plays with stereotypes and national characteristics”– added Gill.

Subsequently, Khrystyna Gevchuk published it on her Facebook instructionhow to complain to the Swedish regulator about unethical statements in the SVT program.

“The received comments from the TV channel and the journalist once again demonstrate the position they take. Jokes should also have a limit, they should not violate the honor and dignity of another person.

Moreover, such words should not appear on the screens of a democratic country. These words were not a way of attracting attention (to the problem of sexual exploitation of refugees – ed.), as some believe. It mocking Ukrainian women”– wrote Gevchuk.

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