Orly Azoulay, a journalist for the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, is the eighth woman to speak out and accuse Dan Margalit, one of Israel’s most prominent journalists, of sexual assault and harassment. In Thursday’s paper, Azoulay, 65, accused Margalit, 80, of sexually assaulting her in 1992 in the studio of the “Popolitika” television political talk show, which Margalit hosted and where she was a panel member.
On Tuesday, a Haaretz expose reported that five women had accused him over the course of his long career, and two more spoke out on Wednesday. Margalit is now accused of being a serial sexual harasser of young female journalists.
“When the lights went out in the studio, after another ‘Popolitika’ program, the host, Dan Margalit, motioned to me with his hand to wait a minute before I left so he could speak with me,” wrote Azoulay, who is the current Washington correspondent of Yedioth Ahronoth. At the time of the incident, she was a reporter and political commentator.
“He gathered up his papers and I followed him to one of the rooms nearby. He loosened his tie, took off his jacket and told me with a bit of a tone of reproach that I was too gentle on the show, I didn’t interrupt enough … ‘Whip when you speak,’ he told me. ‘Think that you are riding naked on a man and whipping him hard with a lash.’ I felt uncomfortable with the image, and also shuddered a bit, and remained silent,” she wrote.
“And then, while we were still standing there, he pushed me up against the wall with force, opened the zipper on his pants, took out what he had there and when he was completely exposed and making disgusting moaning noises, he asked me why didn’t I want to stroke it. I tried to push him away with all my strength: Then he was heavy, not gaunt and wrinkled like today. He was 15 years older than me and was a lot stronger. After a few seconds, which seemed like an eternity to me, I managed to free myself from his grip and ran out,” she wrote.
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“With aggressiveness that I don’t know where I drew it from, and with determination that gave me strength, I managed to prevent him from carrying out his scheme. When I ran down the hallway, and he was still exposed behind me, I heard him shouting: ‘Bad girl, bad girl.’ This shout has followed me to this day,” wrote Azoulay.
Margalit, 80, is currently an op-ed columnist for Haaretz. His career has included stints as a senior reporter and columnist at many papers; he was also a popular host of several television shows. He is considered one of the country’s most influential journalists, with close ties to many senior politicians.
Margalit denied all the incidents on Tuesday. “There’s nothing to these claims about incidents that allegedly happened more than 30 years ago,” he said. “I don’t intend to devote my remaining years to an argument that has no chance at this moment, given the prevailing mood.” Margalit has not yet responded to the additional allegations.