“Your media games can end”: Miguel Wiels defends Niels Destadsbader

Niels Destadsbader (34) has had a tough time ever since making the switch from VTM to VRT, especially since he’s become known for how well he’s done it. Miguel Wiels (50) defends his good friend after what he calls “months of systematic attacks from the same corner of the media”. “Niels would do well not to respond too much to criticism, but I’ve done it now.”

Miguel Wiels shared a screenshot of an article on Tuesday Hello everybody on Instagram. “For the moment, the transfer of ‘goldcrest’ Niels Destadsbader mainly leads to criticism,” he says. The piece features former presenter Kurt Van Eeghem, who finds it unheard of how much money has been paid for Destadsbader while there are now so many layoffs at VRT.

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“He’s the greatest talent I’ve ever worked with,” Wiels writes in the post. “Now you can stop those media games and populist attacks. #transferpolitics #fue”

When we call him, Wiels explains which multimedia games he is talking about. “This article is part of a months-long series of attacks, always from the same media angle,” he says. “It is clear that this has to do with the transfer policy. But I think honest journalists shouldn’t be guilty of that.” The media corner that the producer talks about is DPG Media, Destadsbader’s previous employer. Hello everybody belongs to DPG Media.

Wiels also responds to Van Eeghem’s statement on the layoff ring at the VRT and on the 400,000 euros a year that the singer receives. “First of all: I don’t know how much Niels earns,” says Wiels. “But at that time the public broadcaster’s plans turned out to be more interesting in terms of content. It’s just too easy and rather populist to quote Niels in the same breath as the layoffs now falling at the VRT. Those layoffs are part of the logical transformation of a public company and would have fallen anyway.”

Ups and downs

The music producer is convinced that Niels will overcome this minor moment in his career. “A career comes in waves, with ups and downs. Things happen in your career that you might have done differently in hindsight, even if it was a decision you made out of a sense of righteousness.

Harsh criticism isn’t necessary, says Wiels. Were his interventions at the World Cup the best he’s ever made in his career? Maybe not. But I think it’s very unfair to blame him for that. We are talking about a boy who in ten years has collected piles of MIA, filled Sports Halls and presented very popular programmes. He does less popular stuff for a year and gets wind of it. Give it a break.

According to his good friend, Destadsbader handles criticism well. “Niels is a very tough guy who has both feet firmly planted on clay and is surrounded by a strong team. No doubt he will get through this. At the same time, he’s a 34-year-old man who’s doing his best to make something of his career out of him. I think he is very unfair that all this is happening. Niels is a great guy with a good nature. There’s a saying that it’s best to sit still when you’re shaving, that’s what you should do now. He’s right not to fight back, but now I would have had it.”

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