The Balkan Troll of the Month is an individual, a group of individuals or a media outlet that spreads hate on the internet based on gender, ethnicity, religion, or other diversity categories. The Balkan Troll is selected based on hate speech incidents identified across the Western Balkans region.
This month’s Troll is TV show ‘Why Not?’ hosted by influencer and celebrity Roza Lati, which displayed a strong sexist attitude during the late-night show.
Ora TV is a television channel with a national frequency across Albania. TV show ‘Why Not’ is hosted by influencer and celebrity Roza Lati from 9pm onwards on Saturday nights. Recently, during the late-night show, Roza Lati invited a guest, Majk, onto the programme. During the show, the guest was asked to play a sort of drumming ‘game’ by playfully tapping/spanking on the buttocks of two women onstage. This action effectively portrayed the women as sexual objects for male entertainment.
Whilst the show does have an +18 disclaimer, thereby theoretically warning the public of possible inappropriate behaviour for underage audiences, Roza Lati herself posted this particular segment of the show on her Instagram page, where she has more than 800k+ followers.
However, the +18 disclaimer of the TV show does not justify the sexual objectification of women. The content displayed can very clearly be seen as both derogatory and sexist. Indeed, this is not the first time that this particular show has received criticism. The Audio-visual Media Authority has given warnings previously to Roza Lati for including vulgar language in the show and references to drug use. They have also previously fined the show. Ora TV has both a moral and legal duty to monitor and moderate the content of their production and programmes. By allowing such displays and incidents to occur, such content goes under the radar.
Following a number of criticisms on the basis of the content, Roza Lati went on to block the comment function on her Instagram post and followed up with a tirade on her Instagram stories. On there, she argued that the women whose buttocks were tapped/spanked were in actual fact strippers, thereby suggesting some form of justification. Furthermore, she followed up by posing the question “Do you feminist women not like to be spanked in the behinds?”. Even more concernign were her additional comments based on sexist narratives. Roza Lati went on to further perpetuate sexism by stating that “there are many comments from frustrated ‘honourable’ women, ‘virgins’, about the girls’ behinds, which these women could never have…”.
The Instagram post itself where Roza Lati shared the problematic segment has received over 14k likes.
Although Roza Lati’s profile indeed has an age restriction thereby preventing those under 18 from gaining access, that does not mean that we can underestimate her responsibility and duty to monitor what she shares and posts on her social media. It is well-known that on social media, young people have the means to manipulate and lie about their age and so there is no substantial way of controlling or monitoring the true age ranges of Roza Lati’s followers.
It is extremely problematic that a public figure with such a large audience is effectively objectifying women on prime-time television and on social media, and, in addition, justifying herself using even more sexist rhetoric against fellow women. By uploading such content on her private social media profile, followed by a cascade of Instagram stories spreading sexist and derogatory narratives and comments in regards to women and feminists, she is only spreading further misogyny and sexism in society.
RDN 2.0 has reacted to this incident by addressing a letter to Ora TV in which we emphasise our consistent advocacy for the ‘appropriate and ethical representation of women in the media’ as a stepping stone towards equal rights of women.