Photo: Karel Hemerijckx, Vier
Sam Bettens has responded for the first time to the fuss that arose on Tuesday evening after a question about him in ‘The smartest person in the world‘. Candidate Catherine Van Eylen repeatedly referred to Bettens as ‘she’, and also used the singer’s so-called ‘deadname’ for his transition. Bettens now informs Q-Music that he has received an apology from a producer of the Vier program, and considers the commotion closed. “For me, the most important thing is that they indicate that they did it wrong, and learned from it,” he says.
On Tuesday evening, the candidates had to answer a question about Sam Bettens in ‘The smartest man’. VRT sports journalist Catherine Van Eylen correctly guessed the keyword ‘Sarah’, the so-called ‘deadname’ or the name with which Bettens was born, but which he himself changed into Sam after his transition. Van Eylen also repeatedly used the pronoun ‘she’ instead of ‘he’. That went down the wrong way with many viewers.
Bettens himself responded to the fuss on Q-Music on Thursday morning: “I only heard about it today through a message that the producer of ‘De smartest man’ sent me to apologize. Since I didn’t know anything about it yet, I was particularly charmed by the sincere apology. They didn’t feel at all good about not having taken in when one of the candidates continued to use ‘she’ instead of ‘he’, saying they learned from it. Nor do I think they were aware that the use of the ‘deadname’ is very sensitive for many transgender people. For me personally that is not a problem: everyone knows what my name was before I was Sam. But I have friends whose previous names I don’t know. The most important thing for me is that they indicate that they did it wrong and learned from it. ”