Politician Accused of Masturbating on Zoom Says He Was Scratching an Itch

After initially resigning, the politician is now reportedly saying he was just scratching skin fungus on his groin.
March 26, 2021, 2:22pm
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Image: Getty Images

A Swedish politician and primary school teacher who was accused of masturbating during a virtual lesson has told national media that he was in fact scratching skin fungus on his groin. The man, who has remained unnamed by the Swedish press, is reportedly a high ranking member of the center-right Liberal Party (Liberalerna) in the southeastern county of Blekinge. 

The incident originally came to light in early March when the 7th grade students began filming the virtual call and shared it on social media. In a short video featuring a selection of the clips uploaded by the Swedish online news site Samhällsnytt, the politician can be seen slouched on a couch while his hand moves inside his sweatpants around the groin. He then appears to realize that the students can see what’s going on and quickly raises his laptop so that his pants are no longer in view of the webcam. 

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According to Samhällsnytt, the politician has also posted several nude photos of himself on his Instagram account. In an apparent screenshot of one posted to the site, his bare ass can be seen as he, for some reason while completely naked, opens a curtain to greet the day.

Following media coverage of the incident, the man was suspended from teaching without pay and resigned from local government. 

In an email quoted by Swedish national broadcaster Sveriges Television, however, he claimed that he was not in fact masturbating. 

“For about a week my groin has been itching because of skin fungus,” the email reportedly reads, “I started scratching it and once you’ve done that, it’s difficult for you to stop.” 

Now, it looks like the teacher and politician actually wants to return to politics, with Sveriges Television reporting on Wednesday citing a complete police investigation as vindication that he can return to his post. 

Swedish law enforcement did confirm to Motherboard that they had completed a preliminary investigation and that the case had been closed. However, a spokesperson for the Kristianstads municipality—where the school that the man teaches at is located—claimed that they were still investigating the case, although they refused to provide any further comment or details.

After initially agreeing to provide comment, The Swedish Liberal Party did not respond to follow up emails from Motherboard. 

This isn’t the first time that high profile individuals have found themselves caught in compromising positions during virtual calls. Last October, Motherboard broke the story that former New Yorker journalist Jeffery Toobin had been seen masturbating by colleagues during a Zoom call. Less than a month later, Toobin was fired by the New Yorker.