Published June 23, 2017
I read an article in Iceland Magazine and Fréttablaðið about how the police just responded to the third domestic disturbance call at the home of strongman Hafþór ‘’the Mountain’’ Július Björnsson in less than six months—the first time for assaulting his former fiancé and this time for trapping her inside the building, causing her to flee for her safety out a window. The article included a touching interview with the 190kg woman-beater about how much his love for a Pomeranian dog legitimized his violence. There was no interview with the victim. The Fréttablaðið article concluded by praising Hafþór’s professional accomplishments and his international celebrity. Do Icelandic newspapers have a long history of giving free publicity to abusive men and ignoring the damage they inflict upon women? What kind of story do you think the papers will print the day after he eventually kills her?
Dear Journalistic Integrity,
OK. Real talk.
Yes, Icelandic newspapers, institutions, people do have a history of giving free publicity to or overlooking the actions of abusive men and ignoring the damage they inflict upon women. The system isn’t broken, this is how it was designed to work and it’s doing a great job.
Hypermasculinity is toxic and Hafþór gets paid handsomely to perform it for a living and consumers are groomed to worship it instead of say, kindness or tolerance.
Domestic violence and sexual assault hasn’t ruined many celebrity careers that I can remember and I can’t say with any certainty that this will be more than a minor inconvenience for The Mountain’s.
It’s the duty of journalists to hold everyone accountable, even when it’s unpopular or it might risk their access to that person/institution/government. I am sorry that our fellow Icelandic newspaper failed this woman in that article by not reaching out for her side of the story right at the get go – or if they did and she refused – for not stipulating in the article that she wasn’t comfortable talking to the press about it yet, even anonymously.
I can report however, that since then Fréttablaðið have reported similar accounts from the Mountain’s past victims. They have also published a long interview with another of the Mountain’s exes, the mother of his child, in which she opens up about the abuse inflicted on her while they were together (abuse verified by witnesses and hospital records).
The woman mentioned in the first article, the one you emailed me about has pressed charges against Hafþór for assault – Fréttablaðið have also reported on this.
Well, it’s a circle road, so I suppose the other way?
— Nanna Árnadóttir (@NannaArnadottir) June 22, 2017
What’s the most annoying thing about tourism industry, from your side, not ours as tourists. But what does the Icelandic tourist industry do that is annoying.
Man In The Mirror
Hi Man in the Mirror,
Well, I really fucking hate those fake candy bags that souvenir shops sell. The chocolate candies branded as Puffin Shit or pink caramel candies called Lava Rocks. That kind of thing. These are just regular types of Icelandic candy that people buy in the supermarket and that they then put in gimmicky bags and mark up to twice or three times the price for tourists to buy.
I don’t know what’s worse, that this trash gets sold to tourists, or that tourists buy them.
REVISIONS: This article has been changed since it was originally published as new information regarding the first question about The Mountain have come to light.