Six women have stated that Haaretz journalist Roy Arad sexually assaulted or exploited them, including two who said he knew they were minors at the time of the alleged incidents, according to an investigative report published Thursday on the site The Hottest Place in Hell. The six women also included two who said Arad took advantage of them while they were drunk.
On Wednesday, before the report was published, Arad, 43, said he did not remember the incidents described in the report, but that he wanted to say sorry “to every woman who ever felt I hurt her.” Arad announced he would no longer be working for Haaretz or the Maayan literary magazine he founded.
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Among the women who complained about Arad were two who were minors at the time of the alleged incidents, when Arad was in his 20s. The two women said that Arad knew they were minors at the time.
One of the women said she met Arad when she was 14. He invited her to his home, she said, where “the door was open and he was lying in a robe and holding his genitals in his hand. Without saying anything, he took my head and it was as though it was obvious what he expected I would do in the situation.”
Another woman said in the report that she was 16 when she met Arad in 2003. “Back then I was busy with music and wrote lyrics,” she said. “Maybe I sent him a few things, I don’t remember. We set up a meeting in a café … He told me he didn’t want us to be seen together because I was a minor and asked for us to go up to his house.”
She describes Arad trying to convince her to join him in bed, and “at some point he came up to me and turned me with my face to the wall, and pushed up against me from behind and began to grope me. I don’t remember how long it went on. Maybe a minute or two. I froze. I didn’t know too much … And then at that point he pushed me against the wall, I managed to get free of him somehow. I sort of pushed him.”
The woman said she had to go and left his apartment, she recalled. “I ran downstairs and he yelled at me, ‘What, you’re a virgin?’ in a very degrading tone,” she said. “A tone of, ‘What’s your problem?’”
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Two other women said Arad had taken advantage of them while they were drunk. One, who met him at a bar in 2015 when she was 21 and he was 38, said: “I was so drunk that I remember that I was barely able to walk to the cab. He had to drag me … We went to my place, slept together and I passed out during it. I was in a state of inability to agree or refuse. And he was in a better state. He was sober.”
“It was clearly exploitation,” she added. “I’m not speaking about it out of revenge or victimization. I simply think that he is a very dangerous man. That he has the magazine through which he reaches all sorts of girls. He reaches a lot of women under the pretensions of being a feminist and sensitive.”
The other woman who said she had been drunk said, “I know I slept with [Roy] but I cannot remember the act itself.”
In response to the report, Arad told The Hottest Place in Hell: “Since I was exposed to claims against me, I have been a zombie. Because, even if I don’t remember the things described, my heart is broken and reaches out for the women who carried, sometimes for two full decades, such dark feelings about me.”
Arad said he was filled with remorse, and that he was asking for forgiveness “from every woman who ever felt I hurt her. As someone whose activities have tried to turn the world into a less bad place, and even a better one, who thought about himself as advancing women and even standing alongside women – I feel like a failure,” he wrote.
“So as not to stick only to nice words, I plan on taking a number of public and personal steps,” he added. “I immediately have informed my employers at Haaretz that I am ending my work immediately and have found a replacement in the management of the Maayan nonprofit organization. I am taking a complete break for an unlimited time from all activity, and am going into self-exile and soul-searching.”