Czech children's theater director to leave at year's end over allegedly racist remarks
Speculation around the choice of Vlastimil Peška to direct the Divadlo Radost children's theater in Brno and the allegedly racist remarks he made during the job interview is continuing. Deputy Mayor of Brno Matěj Hollan, who is responsible for cultural and social issues, has announced that Peška should remain as director only until the end of the year, when he will evidently be replaced by Tomáš Pavčík, who was the hiring commission's second choice.
Hollan rejects allegations that his decision interferes with the results of the hiring procedure. In a press release, he explains the City Council's decision regarding Peška's temporary work as director by asserting that the hiring commission is just an advisory body, while he bears responsibility for the cultural agenda.
Peška became unreliable in Hollan's eyes after he allegedly told the hiring commission that he did not want Romani children to come to the theater and that Romani children over 10 years of age belong in prison. "It's not possible for the director of a children's theater to plan on erecting barriers and applying collective blame to young children on the basis of their skin color. One of the priorities of the governing coalition at City Hall is precisely to ameliorate the exclusion of the people in the Bronx and to promote inclusion through cultural organizations, which is not possible with Vlastimil Peška because of his opinions. If the City is contributing millions from its budget to revive the Bronx, it's not possible that the director of one of the most important local institutions sabotages these efforts," Hollan said.
Peška has objected to these allegations, calling them a complete lie. After meeting with Mayor of Brno Petr Vokřál (ANO), however, he did agree that a new position of artistic director would be created at the theater to replace the existing post of director.
Peška, however, does not consider Pavčík an appropriate candidate. Petr Jančařík, the manager of the theater, also has complaints about how the City Council and Hollan are proceeding in this matter and says it bothers him that applicants were never told that the winning candidate would only head the theater for one year.
Collaboration with local Romani NGO
Moreover, during his presentation to the hiring commission, Peška mentioned that he has already established cooperation between the theater and the DROM Romani Center, which works with people from excluded localities on Cejl street in Brno. Miroslav Zima, the director of DROM, has confirmed that to Romea.cz.
"Roughly a month ago we agreed with Mr Peška that we might be able to establish cooperation with the theater. Youth from our drop-in club would be able to attend some performances free of charge, take a look backstage, and go on excursions. People from the theater would also aid us with our drama circle," Zima said.
As for the dispute around the hiring procedure, Zima views it as very unpleasant. He is, however, very interested in collaborating with the theater because he believes it will benefit the children.
"I only know about the scandal around Mr Peška's election from the media. I was not there during the voting and for the time being this is a messy situation as far as I am concerned. However, if Mr Peška actually said what Mr Hollan claims he said, then it should have been responded to immediately, on the spot, not with a delay after the choice has been made. Under such circumstances, the result of the election was a mistake," Zima told news server Romea.cz.
- Czech children's theater director criticized for racist remarks about Roma
- Czech Republic: Did Romani people traffic in votes in Brno?
- Commentary by Pavel Pospěch: Romani people "on the attack in Brno"
- Roma from Brno call on Czech PM to support the creation of dignified jobs
- Czech Police Inspectorate to reopen case of police brutality in Brno
- Documentary about blockade of neo-Nazi march in Brno, Czech Republic premieres next month
- Roma residents of Brno, Czech Republic thank those who stood up to neo-Nazis on 1 May
- Czech Television reporter responds to criticism of his reporting from Brno on 1 May
- Commentary: Czech Television report from Brno on 1 May - Václav Havel looking to brawl?
- Online reporting from 1 May counter-protest against neo-Nazis in Brno, Czech Republic
- BRNO BLOCKS has proof of the neo-Nazi background of the 1 May march, calls for its ban
- Czech celebrities on why they will demonstrate against neo-Nazis 1 May in Brno
- The people of Brno (CZ) want to block neo-Nazi march peacefully on May Day. They are supported by celebrities
- Four anti-Nazi actions planned for 1 May in Brno, support for blockade increasing
- Massive protests expected against neo-Nazis in Brno on 1 May, city wants rally site changed
- Commentary: Czech ombudsman's racist remarks reveal his ignorance of Roma and of history
- Czech lower house sees tussle over President's claims that "Black Lives Matter" is a "racist" slogan
- Czech Internet users fall for ultra-right disinformation parody - and instead of laughing, they lash out
- Czech MP Karel Schwarzenberg: Mr President, you've committed another complete faux pas
- Czech President Zeman marks US Independence Day by calling Black Lives Matter "racist"
- Commentary: Czech philosopher Daniel Kroupa has crossed the line, or: What is racism?
- Commentary: Romani actors should boycott Czech cop show over antigypsyist content
- Miri Fajta, a Romani production company, wins Czech short film competition, could show at Cannes
- Czech football hooligans' racism against black player to be addressed by disciplinary commission
- Volkswagen apologizes for racist advertisement, claiming it was "unintentional"
- Slovakia: Two non-Romani assailants who invaded Romani home to personally deliver death threats given suspended sentences
- Czech MP who compared Muslim immigrants to "invasive species" will not be stripped of immunity from prosecution