Jobbik leader Gábor Vona: Homosexuals can be proud

“Is heterosexuality difficult for you?”–asked conservative journalist András Stumpf of Gábor Vona, the leader of the far-right Jobbik party, in a video interview appearing on the party’s online TV channel, N1TV. Mr. Vona, who has been accused by media associated with the governing Fidesz party of engaging in homosexual orgies, answered with an awkward “no.” What Mr. Stumpf was getting at, is that if being a heterosexual is not a matter of achievement for Mr. Vona, then why did the Jobbik leader feel the need to claim that he is a “proud heterosexual?”

Mr. Vona insinuated that his comment about heterosexual pride was a bit of a jab at the idea of gay pride, but that there was no need to dwell on this comment too deeply. Mr. Stumpf then rather cleverly asked Mr. Vona if he wanted to “walk back” his comment on his proud heterosexuality–something that Mr. Vona would not agree to do.

“So gays should be proud too, right?”–asked Mr. Stumpf.

Screenshot of András Stumpf during the N1TV interview.

Screenshot of András Stumpf during the N1TV interview.

“Everyone should be proud of who they are, but let’s not bother each other with this. This is a private issue,” responded Mr. Vona.

The far-right leader’s comments were hardly an example of earth-shattering liberal progression, but they do represent what may be a modest evolution of his views pertaining to the LGBT community.

But more important than this one issue is the fact that Jobbik’s online TV programming–video content produced by the party itself–actually allows for more probing journalism and a more critical line of questioning than nominally “independent” pro-Fidesz media organs, like the Magyar Idők daily, which simply disseminate undiluted party piffle.

Mr. Stumpf, who writes for the conservative Mandiner website, pressed Mr. Vona about how he has failed to disavow the country’s most extremist and virulently racist online tabloid publication, Kuruc.info.

“You never said that it is intolerable and unacceptable that this publication tramples on the private lives of people,” remarked Mr. Stumpf. Eszter Garai-Édler, one of HFP’s authors (who also writes for our sister publication, the Kanadai Magyar Hírlap), was the victim of Kuruc.info’s vigilante tactics, when her personal contact information was shared on the site, following a protest that she participated in against an elderly war criminal. Readers were encouraged to threaten and harass her, and they did.

“I have said many times, that I do not agree with the often vulgar style that appears in Kuruc.info. But on the other hand, often political content will appear there that cannot appear anywhere else,” said Mr. Vona.

Mr. Stumpf pressed the Jobbik leader about whether he would disavow Kuruc.info’s practice of sharing the cell phone numbers of private citizens, in order to encourage readers to harass them. Mr. Vona seemed uncomfortable fully disavowing the site, but said that he found this practice unacceptable. Mr. Vona then added that despite his most recent experience with attacks on his private life, he did not want to exact revenge on those who have been slandering him by going after anyone else’s personal life choices, especially not those of private citizens.

Mr. Vona noted that up until recently, Hungarian politicians and the media tended to respect the private lives of political leaders, and said that this was in contrast to American style politics. Mr. Stumpf then asked if it was really a problem, for instance, that the public was made aware of President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

“It didn’t add anything to American democracy…These are not the indicators one uses to measure Bill Clinton’s credibility and that voters use to make a decision,” responded Mr. Vona. “When two boxers enter the ring, they strike each other. But when politicians enter the ring and use these methods, it is not only they who get injured, but also their environment and their family and their children,” added Mr. Vona.

Screenshot of Gábor Vona in N1TV interview.

Screenshot of Gábor Vona in the N1TV interview.

Mr. Stumpf asked the Jobbik leader of a colleague of his in the party, who was caught on camera having an affair with a woman, in a public space, behind a bush. The journalist wondered whether it was fair game for the media to cover this story, considering the politician’s regular allusions to his alleged Christianity.

“I don’t think so. I don’t think that János Volner ever claimed to be St. Francis of Assisi…Everyone has things in their private lives that they do not recall with pride,” said Mr. Vona, and added that he too has such episodes in his past well, some of which he has shared with the public.

Mr. Vona also had to defend his party’s questionable and not entirely consistent political strategy relating to “migrant quotas,” which has been a source of tension between Fidesz and Jobbik and has been used for partisan purposes on the right.

Ultimately, online video content produced by a political party–and a far-right one at that–was more meaningful and allowed for much more probing questioning than what one would find these days on public TV or radio in Hungary, or in any pro-Fidesz publication.

6 Comments

  1. They are suddenly beginning to discover the value of democratic principles… …only after that Orban started to push them towards the fate of the Independent Smallholders, Hungarian Democratic Forum etc. By the way, if i am correct Vona started his political career as a member of the so called “Civic Circles”, a former satelite mass movement of FideSS… The former protege seemingly lost favor… But it is more important to note that fascist reaction has become the mainstream, and nowadays not only in Hungary…

  2. I don’t want to defend Vona, but if I was interviewed in this tone, I would have asked for a more leveled field. Stumpf is a clever hunter if he has all the guns in his hand. Vona had to lose this fight, he was given no chance, and this serves the fidesz just fine. That was the whole point.

  3. Teo anti-Semites chatting eith each other. It feels like in 1933. Yes. Germany.

  4. this piece is a gem.

  5. Vona had no trouble going out with his “heavies” to the gay pride parades in Budapest between 2005-2008 to throw insults, punches and horse manure at peacefully marching at GLBT members.

    “Donbass” had no trouble applauding him during that time, either. Birds of a feather stick together.

  6. Doesn’t matter. Jobbik is the only real alternative to Fidesz. The left is a joke in Hungary and that has nothing to do with Fidesz taking power and silencing them Until very recently, the leftist parties were still far more represented in media then Fidesz or even Jobbik, despite being less popular. Their popularity will continue to shrink because of demographics.

    Both Jobbik and Fidesz have more support among the middle-aged and young, and as the gulf widens between Fidesz and Jobbik, and more conflicts emerge between the two parties, likelihood of the Socialist ever returning to the main opposition in the near-term is very slim. People who want change will vote for Jobbik, and people who like the current system will vote for Fidesz, and ultimately most of the elderly Socialist voters inflicted with “fear of fascist syndrome” will back Fidesz over Jobbik. Orban probably has 1 or 2 more chances to be elected as prime minister. After that someone else in Fidesz will emerge and it will be Fidesz vs Jobbik, and the left who has always attacked Jobbik will have to decided at that point whether to back Jobbik or not, because the leftist media monopoly is dying and Fidesz is making it harder and harder for them to have a voice, so Jobbik will become the only alternative.

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