Opera Singer Blames Husband's Suicide on #MeToo

She hopes death is a 'wake up call' for media
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 30, 2018 5:13 PM CDT
Updated Jul 30, 2018 8:00 PM CDT
Anne Sofie von Otter performs during a rehearsal.   (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

(Newser) – Benny Fredriksson, former head of the Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Stockholm, killed himself in March. The 58-year-old's suicide, the Irish Times reports, followed anonymous accusations (later dismissed as unfounded) published in Swedish tabloids that he was a "little Hitler"—forcing women to rehearse naked and pressuring one to have an abortion, among other things—during his 16-year tenure at the arts and culture center. Now his wife Anne Sofie von Otter—an opera singer dubbed by the Times "the world's most prominent #metoo widow"—is speaking out against the movement she says is responsible for her husband's death. "Benny was no skirt chaser," she told Germany's Die Zeit newspaper, per the Times, adding that she thinks there was a campaign against her husband to "settle old scores."

In the same interview, according to the Washington Post, von Otter blamed the media for using lewd accusations as a way to attract readers. "We no longer live in the Middle Ages," she said. "We do not publicly pillory anyone and spit on or stone him or her." She said she hoped Fredriksson's suicide would be a "rude awakening" for the media. Ultimately, Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet was fined for printing the accusations against him. Von Otter isn't the only prominent woman to question the #MeToo movement. Early this year, some 100 French women signed a letter complaining that "men have been punished summarily" as the movement, which they called a "witch hunt," swept through the entertainment industry.

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