The rightwing populist leader falsely claimed that Moroccan men harassed his female friends.
Rabat – Dutch politician Thierry Baudet is facing a police investigation after he falsely claimed that four Moroccan men “seriously harassed” his two female friends on a train.
The “incident” happened on the train from Weesp to Amsterdam at around 8:45 p.m. on Friday, January 31.
The rightwing populist leader and founder of the Netherlands’ anti-immigration Forum for Democracy (FvD) did not witness the “harassment” himself but posted about it on his social media nonetheless.
“This evening two dear friends were seriously harassed by four Moroccans on a train,” Baudet posted on Instagram and Twitter.
“Filing a complaint is of course completely useless. Oh dear, childishly naive Dutch! Finally vote for change. Break free from politically correct bullshit! Save this country.”
Baudet then shared a photo of his female friends and their alleged harassers on the train.
The Guardian reports that the Dutch national rail operator NS debunked Baudet’s photo yesterday after several witnesses came forward to refute Baudet’s version of events.
NS stated that the men in the photo were three ticket inspectors and a police officer dressed in, a tactic used to prevent passengers from dodging ticket checks.
Baudet’s female friends did not believe that the ticket collectors were NS employees and refused to show their tickets, the rail operator continued. The employees identified themselves and summoned a police officer.
A spokesman for NS maintained that its employees had behaved appropriately.
Police are looking into the incident’s racist undertones, given Baudet’s unabashed anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Amid the police investigation, Baudet has maintained that his friends faced “intimidating verbal and non-verbal behavior” by the men on the train, who “aggressively demonstrated their ‘legitimacy.’”
“Even after showing valid tickets, the group of men stayed around them for the rest of the journey in a way intimidating for the women,” he stated in a post on Facebook.
“The women in question have felt very unsafe both during the remainder of the train trip,” Baudet added.
Although the politician admitted his accusations were in poor taste, he doubled down on his anti-immigration stance.
“I have drawn the issue too hasty in a broader political context; the context of the consequences of mass immigration, integration problems and the lack of security that many Dutch people see and experience daily.”
Several Dutch parliamentarians have denounced Baudet’s response to his friends’ claims.
The leader of the GreenLeft party, Jesse Klaver, argued that Baudet’s behavior was “what the far-right does—sling racist mud into the world.”
Meanwhile, the anti-racist Denk party has called for a debate on the consequences of politicians spreading “lies and hateful tweets.”
“If you have Moroccan blood flowing through your veins, Thierry Baudet sees you as a potential criminal, despite your Dutch heart,” said MP Zohair el Yassini.