Home » Oskar Westerlin, Incitement | Westerlin: – I don’t recognize myself in the accusations

Oskar Westerlin, Incitement | Westerlin: – I don’t recognize myself in the accusations

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Oskar Westerlin, Incitement |  Westerlin: – I don’t recognize myself in the accusations

This week, influencer Oskar Westerlin (25) has been met with harsh criticism after he made personal attacks and what some believe is homophobia against Nettavisen’s entertainment commentator, Maria Ludvigsen (33), after she had criticized the TV program Westerlin fronter at VGTV.

Westerlin has written in a text message to Nettavisen that his comments were only intended as a joke.

Read also: This is why journalists hate homophobia from influencers

The editor-in-chief of Nettavisen, Gunnar Stavrum, wrote in a comment on Thursday evening that “it will be interesting to see which advertisers want to be associated with such attitudes”.

– Long way from a bad joke to homophobia

On Friday evening, Westerlin himself published a text on Instagram, in which he responds to Stavrum’s comment.

“I admit that my comment and the joke about boy welding was unnecessary and inappropriate,” writes Westerlin.

Furthermore, he points out that he was not aware of the journalist’s sexual orientation.

“As I see it, there is a long way from a bad joke to homophobia, and I do not recognize myself in the accusations of homophobia.”

Westerlin writes that he believes Stavrum’s accusations are speculative and harmful.

“I encourage a realistic assessment of the situation. A bad joke should not escalate into accusations of serious prejudice and hatred.”

Stavrum, for his part, believes that Westerlin makes a half-hearted apology.

– It is good that he acknowledges that it was a foolish comment, and it is quite good that he is halfway sorry for it, says Stavrum.

– He shows himself to be an immature 25-year-old when he cannot content himself with apologizing. If he had been old enough to bemoan his own hopeless behavior, he would have laid low.

Stavrum also adds:

– Now he primarily appears rather egocentric, and then the half-hearted apology appears as a cheap attempt to avoid the advertisers putting their foot down for homophobia.

Nettavisen has submitted Stavrum’s statements to Westerlin’s manager Vilde Kristine Darvik. In a text message on Friday evening, she writes the following:

“That Stavrum continues to call this homophobia is hair-raising”.

No serious talk

VG is one of Westerlin’s biggest partners, and he has previously been associated with several VGTV concepts.

In the wake of the criticism, VGTV’s editor-in-chief tells Nettavisen that the statements do not affect the collaboration negatively.

These days he is current with the dating program “Av med maska”. The debate post about this program is precisely the root of the storm of criticism.

Editor for VGTV, Rolf Sønstelie, believes that they have no basis to say that Westerlin has unacceptable attitudes and values.

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He states in an e-mail to Nettavisen that the criticism against the 25-year-old will not affect the newspaper’s cooperation with him.

– We are responsible for what we publish on VG. And of course we will not cooperate with profiles that have extreme attitudes that are incompatible with VG’s values. That is not the case with Westerlin, writes Sønstelie in an e-mail to Nettavisen.

However, Sønsteli emphasizes that he disagrees with Westerlin’s reaction, and believes that his comments are inappropriate.

– Does Westerlin represent what VGTV wants your profiles to represent?

– Profiles must not represent certain attitudes in order to be allowed to work together with VGTV. We must have a diversity of profiles. We know Westerlin well. He is a positive contribution to VGTV, says Sønstelie.

He adds that they do not have editorial responsibility for Westerlin beyond VGTV, but that he and all other influencers should be aware of the influence they have.

Read also: Westerlin on VGTV: Will wrap women in animal costumes and date them

When asked how communication has been between Westerlin and VGTV in recent days, the editor replies as follows:

– It is possible that someone with us has spoken to him. After all, we talk to our profiles all the time. But it’s not like the management has called him in for a serious talk, if that’s what you’re asking, Sønstelie writes further.

Will not associate

On Friday morning, Westerlin launched a new product. This time in collaboration with Coore. On his own TikTok channel, he advertises products such as protein powder, protein pancakes and pre-workout

Reputation expert Trond Blindheim believes that the criticism against Westerlin will have consequences, also when it comes to commercial collaborations.

– Reputation is an effect of what people know about him, what they think they know and what they read in newspapers. It is famous, degrading and downright stupid to engage in homophobia. It primarily hurts him himself, says Blindheim to Nettavisen.

As mentioned, it is Coore who is the 25-year-old’s recent partner, and Blindheim does not hide that he would not like to be associated with Westerlin these days.

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– I obviously did not want the brand to be associated with a prejudiced person who engages in homophobia, says Blindheim to Nettavisen.

According to Coore’s website, the company was established late in 2023, and in the description of the business they write the following: “We are not experts, just people who are passionate about making it easier for everyone to take care of themselves”.

Nettavisen has been in contact with the company Coore, which collaborates with Westerlin. They have not yet answered Nettavisen’s questions.

Also read: Oskar Westerlin resorted to personal attacks after TV criticism: Refuses to apologise

Another who shares Blindheim’s skepticism is Peggy Simcic Brønn. She is professor emerita at the Department of Communication and Culture at BI.

She believes that the company should reconsider the collaboration if the storm around Westerlin does not calm down:

– It is difficult to see exactly what that company is. Who owns it and where the products come from, as well as what Oskar’s role is. If they sponsor him or pay him to represent the company, they should probably reconsider as the situation develops, she writes in an e-mail to Nettavisen.

Brønn adds that there would always be a certain risk for companies when they enter into collaborations with celebrities.

– As people, they can do stupid things, damage their own reputation and thereby damage the reputation of their partner.

– Can come out of it well commercially

Mathilde Hogsnes is a PhD student at Kristiania University College and an influencer researcher. She has also caught on to the debate that has arisen this week, but she does not necessarily believe that Westerlin’s brand will suffer from the criticism.

She also hopes that there will be more focus on influencers’ attitudes and values ​​in light of commercial collaborations.

Westerlin has had many collaboration partners in the past, including when he launched the chocolate bun, “Oskar’s triple chocolate”, which was quickly pulled off the store shelves last year.

This time it is food supplements Westerlin is advertising for, but whether the launch is a distraction from the storm of criticism this week can only be speculated on.

Read also: This happens when you criticize Oskar Westerlin

Hogsnes believes that Westerlin can profit from this attention commercially anyway:

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– It is difficult to say, but it could be a kind of coincidence that the two things come at the same time, she tells Nettavisen and continues:

– But he can come out of it well commercially in many ways, that there is a lot of discussion about him right now. It has been for a long time, but you can see that such controversies create a lot of traffic to their profiles. Businesses are often governed by the number of followers, likes and comments. Influencers’ attitudes and values ​​are sometimes overshadowed by good numbers.

Today’s influencers are very dependent on landing commercial deals, including Westerlin.

Many businesses partner with influencers to sell products and services through a person. The person’s attitudes and values ​​therefore reflect back on the company, according to the influencer researcher.

– What is so complex about influencer marketing is that companies choose to sell their brand through a person. Then the person’s values, views, attitudes, even storms, are very important factors. The companies have quite a lot of power to define which influencers will be given a position and power to influence.

– Be your own master

Press expert Gunnar Bodahl-Johansen believes that one of the major problems associated with social media and influencers today is that there are not as clear regulations for what should and should not be published.

– Many in this generation who operate on social media have done as they please. They have been their own masters, and they have not received that correction. If they are not beaten down, then it is clear that they have a hard time realizing that they are doing something that is reprehensible, he says to Nettavisen.

He adds that it is a very different practice from when there were only editor-controlled media.

– Traditional media have been very careful to avoid bullying and incitement, and it is something we have lost a little control over after the advent of social media.

– If VG has employees who do not understand it and who are given the opportunity to behave with bullying and incitement, then I believe that it is something VG should react to. It can weaken the newspaper’s credibility, says Bodahl-Johansen.

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