A Swiss politician and a controversial German author have come under fire for posting sexist comments about the young female climate activist who is the leader of the Greta Thunberg “Fridays For Future movement” in Germany.
Luisa-Marie Neubauer is often hailed as the “German face of the movement” although she rejects comparisons of herself to Greta Thunberg, who she is often pictured with, saying that while Great’s work is inspiring, they were “actually relatively far from that.”
But it was her looks that took centre stage when a German politician posted a picture of the 23 year-old Neubauer saying: “What do you think? Cute picture isn’t it?”
The posting by the politician about her being “cute” attracted a storm of criticism, but also attracted a comment apparently by Turkish born German author Akif Pirincci who wrote underneath: “Yep, I’d f**k her straight away, even if it meant having to listen to her go on about climate change at the same time for hours.”
Pirincci is the author of the novel Felidae which has been translated into 17 languages and is an international bestseller, and it also resulted in a movie. He is also a campaigner against Islam, has connections with the far-right Alternative For Germany (AfD) party and said: “I couldn’t care less if people call me a Nazi.”
The latest sexist comment apparently from him was widely condemned but was also praised in some quarters, for example by Conservative Swiss People’s party (SVP) politician Claudio Schmid, who gave it a laugh emoji according to screenshots circulating online.
He then wrote to Pirincci, or the person who posted in his name, saying: “Are you really back? You have been missed on Twitter.” When he got the reply from Pirincci that his account had been deleted, Schmid wrote: “Yep, bloody censorship in Germany.”
The following day Jolanda Spiess-Hegglin, who is a campaigner with the Netzcourage organisation that fights against hate speech online, posted a screenshot of the conversation on Twitter.
She wrote: “Old white geezers enjoying themselves together. And who is right in the middle, who would have guessed it. Schmid. I think it’s something the online community should know about.”
Many people branded Schmid ‘disgusting’. Sociologist and gender activist Franziska Schutzbach wrote: “Claudio Schmid is the cantonal council of the SVP. And he finds sexualised fantasies of violence and the degradation of women extremely funny. “
Contacted by Swiss media for comment Schmid said he had not ‘liked’ the comment by Pirincci in itself and was merely trying to find out if the Facebook account was genuine or fake. He said: “I was talking about the fact that people had missed him and not necessarily talking about my own position.”
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