Trolls harass radio host after discussion about arousal

During an interview, journalist Babette Moonen casually mentioned that she gets aroused while spinning at the gym. Afterwards, she received so many inappropriate messages that she felt 'stalked, threatened and scared'.

Marjan Justaert
Marjan Justaert De Standaard, Belgium
Source: De Standaard
Trolls harass radio host after discussion about arousal - NewsMavens
Babette Moonen. Instagram

Why this story matters:

Apparently, it's still risky to talk about sex if you're a woman. We, as a society, like to maintain that we are examples of open-mindedness, and that women are men's equals.

However, when it comes to sex, there is a difference. Men are allowed to talk and even brag about sex, while women aren't.

Well, here's some news: women are also sexual beings. Yes, we do have a sex drive. And there's nothing wrong with talking about it.

Details from the story:

  • Babette Moonen (b. 1989), a well-known radio journalist, made a 5-minute item about sexual arousal  during sport. She openly admitted to having experienced the phenomenon herself. A scientist then explained why this is a frequent occurrence. The following day, a newspaper published a summary of the piece.
  • In the following hours and days, Moonen received hundreds of friend requests, messages, texts and allusions. All of the messages were from men, and most of them were inappropriate. For example, someone wrote her: "Aren't you that radio whore? I'll wait for you at the gym and give it to you so hard that you won't be able to spin anymore."
  • Moonen wrote about her anger and shame in an open letter. She is convinced that if a man would have said the same words, nothing would have happened.
  • 'She's not alone', according to two of her colleagues in the article. Unfortunately, our society is eager to condemn women who talk about sex.
  • Since the publication of the open letter, Moonen received a lot of support, and an apology from one man.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at