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Mäe demands writer retract 2009 column due to alleged false information

Jelena Skulskaja
Jelena Skulskaja Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A writer and journalist has been told to retract and an article written in 2009 detailing alleged harassment by the lawyers of National Opera Estonia director Aivar Mäe, whom several former and current female employees of the national opera have anonymously accused of harassment.

Lawyer Paul Keres, who is representing Mäe, has sent a letter of demand to Jelena Skulskaja, who published an opinion piece on Mae's activities in the daily newspaper Postimees, accusing her of spreading false information and demanding that this information be retracted.

Keres said Skulskaja's 2009 article, titled "Jelena Skulskaja: Who is afraid of Aivar Mäe or how times change", contains at least seven claims which Keres said are incorrect in content and dishonor Aivar Mäe.

In the article, Skulskaja, a writer and translator, describes Mäe's activity when he was head of the Russian Theater 11 years ago and accuses Mäe of harassing behavior.

The law firm representing Mäe, Levin OÜ, is demanding that Skulskaja retract seven incorrect factual allegations in the same extent and manner that they were published. Additionally, the law firm is demanding the names of the persons allegedly harassed by Aivar Mäe referred to in the opinion piece.

Skulskaja has been given until 5 p.m. on Friday to meet the requirements. If the requirements are not met by that time, the law firm is to turn to the court for compensation for both pecuniary and moral damage.

The daily newspaper Postimees has removed Skulskaja's opinion piece from Postimees' website for the duration of the resolution of the demand.

Skulskaya told ERR she does not intend to retract her words. She affirms that she wrote only the truth and refuses to apologize to him or retract her words.

In a statement, she said: "Dear friends! Dear colleagues! Today, my intimidation began with a possible court case over an article written about Aivar Mäe. I have worked in journalism for 50 years already, I have never been accused of lying or slandering.

"I wrote the whole truth about Aivar Mäe and under no circumstances do I agree to apologize to him or retract my words. On the contrary, it is possible that Aivar Mäe feels that he is telling me his late apology. There are women who spoke out anonymously against him - I am the only one who does not hide their name. I am not afraid of investigation, court, because the truth is with me."


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Editor: Helen Wright

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