Dutch broadcaster removes anti-Wilders cartoon after threats to staff

Wilders as Nazi

The website of a left-leaning public broadcaster has removed a cartoon depicting a plan by the far-right PVV party as a Nazi death camp following serious threats to its staff.

The cartoon, by Adriaan Soeterbroek and posted on the VARA’s Joop.nl site, ridiculed a PVV plan to create “hooligan villages”, likening them to a Nazi concentration camp with PVV leader Geert Wilders showing the inmates into a shower. Millions of people, mostly Jews and Roma gypsies, were killed in Nazi gas chambers masquerading as showers.

The VARA says it removed the cartoon after careful consideration, saying that while freedom of expression is a key right some of its staff felt too threatened to continue working. The broadcaster has reported the incident to the police.

Due to its initial refusal to remove the cartoon, PVV top candidate Machiel de Graaf refused to participate in a debate the VARA broadcast on 16 February ahead of the 2 March provincial elections.

RNW, 25 February 2011

See also the earlier RNW report which quotes Wilders as saying that it was “a disgusting cartoon. It must be removed from that website immediately, or the PVV will not attend the VARA provincial elections debate”.

Once again we see the reality of Wilders’ supposed commitment to defending “free speech”. He was of course a strong supporter of theJyllands-Posten anti-Islam cartoons – Wilders posted them on his website and his film Fitna prominently featured one of the most explicitly racist of the cartoons, that of the Prophet with a bomb in his turban. But when faced with a cartoon that he himself finds offensive, Wilders’ response is to demand that it is suppressed.