Deputy Head Of Norway's Labor Party Resigns Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations

Ripples of the #MeToo movement are being felt in Scandinavia.
Trond Giske pictured in 2012.
Trond Giske pictured in 2012.

As members of the Hollywood elite rose in solidarity at the Golden Globes on Sunday in protest of sexual harassment, the other side of the pond was also feeling the effects of the #MeToo movement.

Trond Giske, described as one of the most powerful men in Norwegian politics, announced Sunday that he was resigning his post as deputy head of Norway’s main opposition Labor Party. He also offered to step down as Labor’s chief spokesman on economic policy. Giske’s resignation comes on the heels of several allegations of sexual harassment. According to AFP, at least six women have come forward in recent weeks to accuse the veteran politician of sexual misconduct.

The 51-year-old, who’s held several ministerial posts over the course of his 30-year political career, publicly apologized last month for what he described as “inappropriate behavior.” He, however, has refuted the more serious misconduct claims, according to Reuters.

The Labor Party, which is still reeling from its huge loss in Norway’s general election in September, suspended Giske from his role as one of the party’s two deputy heads on Jan. 1. In a Sunday Facebook post, Giske said this suspension “must now become permanent.”

Giske said the “main reason I’m doing this, is that it’s impossible for me and my family to withstand the pressure we’ve been under in recent weeks.” He added that he looked forward to giving “my version” of events and hoped the Labor Party would be able to return to work as usual following his resignation.

“I hope my decision means that [party] members and officials can again use their resources to create the society we burn for,” he said.

Details about the harassment allegations against Giske remain scarce.

Last week, however, Labor Party politician Line Oma became the first woman to speak publicly about her encounter with Giske. 

Oma told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) that Giske had put his tongue down her throat “against my will” at a nightclub in New Delhi in 2010. Oma was 23 at the time, working as an intern at Norway’s embassy in the Indian capital. She said embassy staff had ended up at the club following a large diplomatic reception attended by Giske, who was then Norway’s minister of trade. Giske pushed her up against a wall, Oma told NRK, and after forcibly kissing her, asked her to return with him to his hotel ― a request she refused.

Another woman, who was not identified, told the broadcaster that she too had been at the club that night and had been groped by Giske. The woman claimed the then-minister had grabbed her buttocks while she danced with her husband.

#MeToo has spread far beyond its origins in the U.S. in recent months. Ripples of the movement have been felt in the U.K., Europe  and beyond.