Helgstrand Issues Pre-Emptive Statement on Danish Documentary with Undercover Footage

Tue, 06/20/2023 - 15:22
Anreas Helgstrand at the 2022 World Championships Dressage :: Photo © Astrid Appels

Helgstrand Dressage has published a press release on 20 June 2023 in which the company distances itself in advance from Operation X, a documentary program to be aired on the Danish national television station TV2.

Andreas Helgstrand, co-owner of Helgstrand Dressage together with the Waterland Private Equity group, issued this pre-emptive statement on the Danish part of his website and Facebook, sharply criticizing TV2's methods.

"It is incredibly offensive, and deeply worrying, that our employees and I have had our privacy violated solely to create an exciting documentary," said Helgstrand. "Everyone who has to do with riding horses knows that horses are big and strong, and that it often requires aids. We also use that here at our place. We would have liked to have shown that on TV2. But no one in their editorial office has contacted us in the hope of creating dialogue and understanding."

Operation X hired a person to work undercover as a groom at Helgstrand Dressage. The person has made hidden recordings.

"It's uncomfortable because it feels the same as if a burglar had broken into your house and rummaged through your rooms and closets," Andreas stated. "Regardless of our openness and availability, Helgstrand Dressage is a private company and thus a private space. Neither I nor our employees have to live in an everyday life where the risk of being monitored and filmed by a nationwide media is a built-in condition of our working day. It is seen as extremely offensive and cannot be legal," he said.

TV2 and the host of the program, Morten Spiegelhauer, contacted Helgstrand Dressage with an interview request. 

"Without showing me in advance the material you write at the same time that you have shown a number of anonymous experts excerpts from, you are now asking me for a meeting with the purpose of rolling cameras to show me the material," he stated. In the press release Helgstrand says, "Before I want to consider appearing for an interview, I ask TV2 to send me the complete raw tapes from the hidden recordings in advance, and when I have had the opportunity to review the material, we can agree on a date for the interview."

Photo © Astrid Appels

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