District Court Orders Reykjavík City Theatre to Pay Former Employee ISK 5.5 Million

Judge's gavel

This week, the district court ordered Leikfélag Reykjavíkur (the Reykjavik City Troupe), which operates the Reykjavík City Theatre (Borgarleikhúsið); and Kristín Eysteinsdóttir, Director of the Reykjavík City Theatre, to pay actor Atli Rafn Sigurðsson ISK 5.5 million on the grounds of wrongful termination and defamation. Sigurðsson was fired in December 2017 – two weeks before the premiere of the play Medea, in which Sigurðsson was to play a leading role – following accusations of sexual harassment. Eysteinsdóttir declined to comment on the decision, referring the matter to her and the theatre’s lawyer, Sigurður Örn Hilmarsson.

Hilmarsson will be appealing the ruling on behalf of his clients, believing that the decision will engender “uncertainty” among employers, RÚV reports: “Our decision to appeal is two-fold. On the one hand, my clients disagree with the court’s decision. On the other hand, my clients feel that the ruling creates uncertainty regarding the duties of employers and managers in cases where the safety and well-being of their employees are compromised,” Hilmarsson stated, who is surprised by the court’s decision.

“Yes, we’re surprised. First and foremost because the court’s ruling does not, in my clients’ opinion, consider the interests of other employees, i.e. to those individuals who complained about sexual harassment and who experienced discomfort in the workplace. They confided in their employers and their interests were not considered in the ruling. Instead, the interests of a single employee took precedence.” Hilmarsson believes that the case is a test case for accusations of this kind.

Yesterday, Vísir reported that the Reykjavík City Theatre will continue to honour the confidentiality of Sigurðsson’s accusers when the case is heard before the Land’s Court (Landsréttur). The Land’s Court is a mid-tier court handling cases in between the District Courts and the Supreme Court of Iceland.

First Lady arbeitet für Promote Iceland

First Lady of Iceland Eliza Reid

Zwei Monate nachdem sie sich über die Accessoire-Rolle von First Ladies (und Ehegatten von Weltlenkern) beschwert hat, steht die isländische First Lady nun auf der Lohnliste von Promote Iceland (Íslandsstofa), berichtet Vísir. Sie ist damit die erste Gattin eines amtierenden Staatspräsidenten in Island, die eine entlohnte Stelle innehat.

Promote Iceland ist eine öffentlich-private Kooperation, welche gegründet worden war, um die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit isländischer Unternehmen auf dem internationalen Markt voranzubringen und wirtschaftliches Wachstum durch vermehrten Export zu fördern.

Ich werde eine Art Sprecher sein, man könnte sagen, für Island generell, aber auch für den Tourismus, für Innovation und für Gleichberechtigung im Land. Ich werde Island auf Veranstaltungen bewerben, die Promote Iceland organisiert,” erklärte die First Lady, Eliza Reid.

Der Leiter von Promote Iceland, Pétur Óskarsson, bezeichnete Eliza Reid als grossartige Ergänzung des Teams. Das Unternehmen ist derzeit dabei, seine Aktivitäten zu restrukturieren, wobei die Organisation von Veranstaltungen im Ausland in den Vordergrund rücken. “In den vergangenen Jahren hat Eliza schon mit uns bei ähnlichen Projekten zusammengearbeitet,” sagt Pétur. “Als wir Planungen für die Zukunft anstellten, wurde uns klar, dass sie uns eine grosse Hilfe sein würde. Wir haben ims an sie gewandt und sie hat das Angebot angenommen.”

Eliza wird Promote Iceland begleiten, um Veranstaltungen in Nordamerika und Europa auszuwählen, wie sie es bisher schon getan hatte. “Die Veranstaltungen im kommenden Jahr sollen mit ihr im Hinterkopf geplant werden.”

Die First Lady wird nicht als Festangestellte bei Promote Iceland tätig sein, sondern als Auftragsnehmerin. “Wir werden ihre Dienste sebstverständlich bezahlen.” Vísir zufolge erhält Eliza Reid dafür monatlich etwa 500.000 ISK.

Dies ist damit das erste Mal, dass die Gattin eines amtierenden Präsidenten bezahlte Angestellte eines isländischen Unternehmens ist.

Ihre Vorgängerin Dorrit Moussaieff hatte sich während der Präsidentschaft ihres Mannes Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson um die Geschäfte der Familie in London gekümmert.

Im September hatte Eliza Reid auf ihrer öffentlichen Facebookseite einen Artikel aus dem britischen Tageblatt Guardian geteilt, welcher den Titel “The G7 was the final straw – world leaders wives should refuse to travel with their spouses” trug. In ihrem Betrag beklagte Eliza die Tatsache, dass unabhängige, intelligente Frauen “zu Accessoires ihrer Ehemänner reduziert werden”.

Im Oktober teilte sie einen Kommentar, den sie für die New York Times über die Gefahren, sich in der Rolle einer First Lady im Jahr 2019 zurecht zu finden, verfasst hatte.

Die gebürtige Kanadierin Eliza Jean Reid ist seit 2016 First Lady in Island und eine der Mitbegründeirnnen von Iceland Writers Retreat. Vor ihrer Ernennung zur First Lady war sie freie Autorin für verschiedene isländische Magazine und von 2012 bis 2016 Redakteurin für das Icelandair Stopover Magazin.

 

Icelandair Secures Additional Compensation from Boeing

In an interim report published by Icelandair Group yesterday, Icelandair announced that it had secured a second partial compensation agreement with Boeing (the first agreement was reached in September), owing to the “unprecedented impact” of Icelandair’s five Boeing MAX aircraft having been grounded since last March. The conditions of the agreement are confidential. According to RÚV, Icelandair will continue to negotiate with Boeing for further compensation.

As Iceland Review reported last week, Icelandair does not expect its Boeing 737 Max planes to return to service until the end of February 2020. The airline has adjusted its flight schedule through February 2020. The decision will have a “minimum impact” on previously scheduled flights.

In the above-mentioned report, Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair Group, states that the company’s third-quarter results show improvements in Icelandair Group’s underlying operations despite the suspension of the MAX aircraft: “Operational improvements with EBIT amounting to USD 81.1 million in the quarter, up by USD 2.8 million.” The report also notes that the number of passengers who travelled to Iceland in the quarter increased by 27%.

Icelandair Group’s fourth-quarter results are also expected to improve compared to last year.

Number of Reported Rapes Reached Record High in 2018

Last year, a total of 263 rapes were reported to the police authorities, a 20% increase from 2017, RÚV reports. Relative to population, by far the most rapes were reported in the Westman Islands, owing most likely to the annual Þjóðhátíð Festival. Thousands attend the festival each year.

Every year, the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police publishes a summary of all of the registered crimes in Iceland, classified by jurisdiction and category. Approximately 550 sex crimes were reported to the police authorities in Iceland last year, almost half of which were rapes. Never before have more rapes been reported to the police in a single year, or 263 total. In 2017, 213 rapes were reported to the police, compared to 98 in 2010.

181 Rapes Reported in the Capital Region

Unsurprisingly, by far the most rapes were committed in the Capital Region (the most populous area of Iceland). Police authorities registered 181 rapes in the greater Reykjavík area, compared to 140 in 2017, and 71 in 2014. The number of rapes reported in other regions has remained approximately the same, with the exception of the Westman Islands. In 2014, two rapes were reported in the Westman Islands, six in 2015, five in 2016, ten in 2017; and eight in 2018. In 2018, 23 rapes were reported in Iceland’s Southern Region, 21 were reported in the Northeastern Region, 15 in the Southern Peninsula. Last year, the fewest rapes were reported in the Eastern Region of Iceland, the Northwestern Region Iceland, the West Fjords, and the Western Region of Iceland, or three to four in each jurisdiction.

Relatively High Number of Sex Crimes in Small Regions Traced to Big Festivals

Police authorities also calculate the number of offences per ten thousand residents in each of Iceland’s nine jurisdictions, i.e. how common a given offence is relative to population. These figures paint a slightly different picture. Each year, reports of sex crimes and rapes emerge during or after the Þjóðhátíð Festival. The Police Commissioner’s report notes that when the number of offences in less populous jurisdictions is high in comparison with other more populous jurisdictions, a possible explanation may be annual festivals, in which the population of small jurisdictions skyrocket.

In 2018, the most rapes relative to population were reported in the West Man Islands or approximately 19 per ten thousand residents. The Southern Region is second, with approximately nine per ten thousand residents. Relative to population, the fewest rapes were reported in the Western Region of Iceland, roughly two per ten thousand residents. The Capital Region averaged about eight per ten thousand residents.