Hungarian far-right leader Gábor Vona accused of homosexual orgies

One of the relatively refreshing aspects of Hungarian politics until recently was that, broadly speaking, the personal lives of politicians were not paraded before the general public, and the public did not seem especially interested in this either. Over the last few years, however, media tied to Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party has rejected this unwritten rule, even to the point of viciously humiliating the spouses of political opponents. On Thursday, the pro-Fidesz TV2 news network used one of its most popular evening programs to claim that Gábor Vona, leader of the Jobbik party, had engaged in homosexual orgies.

The claim was made by Terry Black (born: Károly Rácz), who worked for years in Germany as a porn star. Upon returning to Hungary, he opened Budapest’s first gay bar, called Lokál, and made regular appearances in the tabloid media. He garnered significant attention when he attempted to transition into the world of politics on two occasions: in 2009, Mr. Black launched a long-shot bid during the European Parliamentary (EP) elections, and then in 2010 he was nominated to run as the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) candidate in municipal elections in the town of Tököl, 20 km south of Budapest.

Mr. Black claims in the TV2 show to have known Gábor Vona personally for more than ten years. He remarked that between 2001 and 2003, when Mr. Vona was still a university student, he would get together with other young male intellectuals–primarily journalists, actors and politicians–and would discuss and debate pressing issues of the day. After these discussions, however, Mr. Black claims that Mr. Vona and the other young men would “have fun with each other.”

Terry Black asserted that between 2001 and 2003, Mr. Vona “most certainly engaged in these sorts of relationships,” and called on the leader of Jobbik to come out and be honest with the Hungarian public. Mr. Black also said that he was taken aback by Mr. Vona’s extremism as a Jobbik politician, especially in light of what he knows about his alleged homosexuality.

When TV2 contacted Mr. Vona for comment, he claimed to have never met Terry Black and said that he has nothing to hide.

Mr. Vona’s wife, Kriszta Vona-Szabó, had much more to say, however. She wrote an open letter to the wife of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Anikó Lévai, asking her to stop her husband for sinking so low:

“According to a fresh piece of ‘news’ in the pro-government media, Gábor was a regular participant in homosexual orgies during his university years. This was a time when the two of us were already well within our relationship. (…) Of course, I can understand that there is much confusion, sensitivities and desire for revenge, because Viktor Orbán’s proposed constitutional amendment failed. But whatever the parties may think about this, no political issue can be used as a reason or justification to humiliate a family or to attempt a character assassination against my husband based on unfounded speculation on his personal life. As I see no other options, as a wife and a mother, I ask you to put a stop to your husband.” 

The Prime Minister’s Office responded to Mrs. Vona’s letter by calling into question Mr. Vona’s masculinity.

“As a politician and as Prime Minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán is accustomed to the fact that through lies and character assassinations, based on unfounded information on his personal life, people attempt to destroy his credibility, whilst even humiliating his family. Unfortunately, this too is part of politics. There are some who can take this like a man. And there are those who must hide behind the wife,” suggested Bertalan Havasi, Mr. Orbán’s spokesperson.

Gábor Vona during a visit to Transylvania in October.  Photo: Facebook.

Gábor Vona during a visit to Transylvania in October. Photo: Facebook.

On Friday, the disgraced former Socialist politician János Zuschlag, who was convicted of fraud and had spent six years in prison, claimed that Mr. Black was telling the truth about Mr. Vona’s alleged participation at homosexual orgies.

“I simply cannot understand what the fuss is about when it comes to this confession. I also don’t understand Mrs. Vona’s open letter. In political life, Mr. Vona’s lifestyle has long been an open secret,” wrote Mr. Zuschlag on his Facebook page.

During a press conference on Friday, Mr. Vona clarified that the intellectual circle that Mr. Black referred to was part of a broader movement of students and right-wing activists tied to Mr. Orbán’s Fidesz. Mr. Von, had in fact been involved in this group, but he rejected the accusation that he had engaged in any homosexual orgies. Mr. Vona then added that he considers himself to be a “proud heterosexual.”

The Jobbik leader announced that he would launch a lawsuit against both Mr. Black and Mr. Zuschlag.

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