There are many presenters who hunt for scammers, such as Alberto Stegeman and Kees van der Spek. How do you distinguish yourself?
‘We searched for a long time for: what is my signature? Who are my scammers? And those are the narcissists, that’s what it comes down to. I think people who are able to build a bond with the victim – and that can be amicable or even in a relationship – and eventually drain them completely, are at the top. Because you not only lose your money, but also your trust in people. Because you see that the victims give their trust completely, and that is your greatest asset. I find that fascinating on the one hand, that you are able to do that. That I sit opposite you and I enter into a deep bond with you and I know: at the end of the ride I will drain you completely and you will never hear from me again. That is so far from me that I think every time: who are you then? And on the other hand, that is something that can make me very angry. The shamelessness, how they treat people. Because you can see that too, that they always continue to regain trust. You see victims then think: you see, you are reliable after all.’
They keep hope.
‘Yeah, you’re hopeful because, apart from losing your money, you just can’t imagine anyone being so unscrupulous. I think that’s also the hardest. You literally cannot comprehend what happened.’
Is it possible to find such a narcissist for every broadcast?
‘Yes, fortunately, for my business at least, because there are just a lot of narcissists in the world. I notice that people with stories like this are more likely to come to me than to the competition. Although I recently received a registration from someone with a story that was set abroad, and then I thought: that’s Kees van der Spek’s department.’
Do victims send their story to you and Kees and Alberto in the hope that someone will pick it up?
‘That sometimes happens. I happened to do a case this year that Alberto was working on, but apparently he couldn’t put his finger on it at the time. Such a figure is actually just like a fruit. Alberto found another very green banana, and now it’s ripe. So three years later he comes into my program and I also talked about that with Alberto, or at least, people from my team. But for a long time I have been busy with the question: what is my signature? Then you have to stay true to yourself.’
You came from PowNed, went Red my vacation do on SBS 6 and took Stalked over from Alberto. That actually set the direction a bit for you?
‘Yes. That’s the TV business. I was always happy that I got a chance at all after I started at AT5. I saw that a lot of people went to NOS, and I didn’t necessarily want that, because I thought that was the Bermuda triangle of the TV business. They were people I really liked, but I never heard from again. Disappeared in that big bunker in Hilversum.’
As a desk editor or something?
‘Yes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, not at all, but I would have expected them to just… They would at some point…”
Become a presenter?
‘Yes, or somewhere else. Then I thought why aren’t you One today or gone like this? Why does everyone go to NOS? Look, there were of course a lot of former AT5’ers at the top, so that was a circle, but people just disappeared there, you never saw them again. While I thought: you’re really good, aren’t you? So I didn’t, I don’t think that was the route. And then PowNed came my way. That’s not really a blood type I felt very comfortable with, but it felt a bit like the next spot after AT5. That was kind of the same kind of club, but nationwide.’
And you could make some more daring television there?
‘A bit more daring, but I was just thrown to the lions. You have to do it yourself, so it felt like a good step, but in the end I thought the negativity was getting a bit too much. Then I had to go to things. If people had received a ribbon and then our approach was: now you can die, then we will finally be rid of you. So someone was completely happy and then we come along. That must be funny TV then. I understand it all, but above all I felt very embarrassed.’
Curious about the rest of the interview? You can read it in the latest Revu or via Blendle.