After Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit apologized to Jewish-American journalist Danielle Berrin, who claimed that he had sexually assaulted her, and explained that his romantic pursuit was misconstrued, Berrin responded this evening: “None of this was flirtation; this was an assault on my dignity and professionalism.”

Watch: Berrin in an interview with Channel 2 News

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Danielle Berrin, the American journalist who published an article in which she described how she was sexually harassed by an accomplished Israeli journalist, wrote another article this evening (Friday) in which she rejected the apology of Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit, who has since revealed that he was the journalist in question.

“Ari Shavit offered an apology – to no one in particular – for ‘misconstruing the interaction between us,’ which he says he understood as ‘flirtation,’” she wrote. “His claim is absurd. The only thing I wanted from Ari Shavit was an interview about his book. No person of sound judgment would have interpreted his advances on me as anything other than unwanted, aggressive sexual contact.”

“He admitted his attempts to sexually pursue me during what should have been a professional interview and did not dispute a single fact that I reported in my article,” Berrin added. “I chose not to name Shavit myself, because my intention was not to make this about one person, but instead, to focus on the issue of sexual assault. I wanted to draw attention to the fact that women should not be afraid to talk about their experiences of this inexcusable behavior. For two and a half years, I had no expectation that I would ever share my story publicly, which points to the fact that too many women live with sexual harassment and assault as part of our work climate.”







Berrin and Shavit

Berrin and Shavit Photo credit: Hadas Porush, Flash 90 / Channel 2 News

“He engaged in physically aggressive behavior – grabbing the back of my head, lurching at me for a kiss, pulling and pawing at me, and pressuring me to enter his hotel room,” Berrin continued. “He also implied he wanted to impregnate me and suggested I become his mistress. Throughout our interaction, he touched me in ways I did not want to be touched and he caused me to fear for my safety. None of this was flirtation; this was an assault on my dignity and professionalism that frightened and disturbed me.”

In a statement issued by Shavit on the Haaretz website yesterday, the Israeli journalist apologized to Berrin and admitted that he had misinterpreted the situation. “Over a year and a half ago, in February 2014, I met Ms. Berrin for an interview in Los Angeles,” Shavit wrote. “Now I sadly realize that I completely misinterpreted the interaction between the two of us in that meeting.”

“Up until reading the article she published, I sincerely thought we had had a friendly encounter which included elements of romance. I never thought of it as sexual harassment,” Shavit wrote. “But what I viewed as being romantic, Berrin viewed as inappropriate, harassing behavior on my part. I wish to apologize from the bottom of my heart for this misunderstanding.”