Slovakia: TV anchor taken off air, loses job over racist statement
Kristína Kormúthová, a sports anchor for the Slovak public broadcaster RTVS who published a racist status update on her Facebook profile, has been taken off the air and then fired. Organizers of the country's International Gypsy Fest have also announced that she will not be moderating their fashion show in Bratislava.
Kormúthová published the following racist status update to Facebook: "Some prematurely-born stinking Gypsy steals a four-meter drainpipe from your house, it's so Slovak. Why can't we hunters shoot them like the pests they are?"
The anchor then threatened those who wanted to call her racist that one of these days they would be "bitten by something". While her post was visible only to those who had "friended" her on Facebook, someone soon spread it elsewhere online.
Kormúthová quickly erased the status update and apologized: "I sincerely apologize for that rash statement, which was made in the heat of passion and is not compatible with my personal convictions. ... I appreciate Romani people, my father played in a band with only Romani members. I have many Romani friends. I am sorry."
Last summer the television personality was the main face representing a fashion show held during the International Gypsy Fest in Bratislava. The organizers did not have bad experiences with her then and had agreed she would perform the same role this year before this scandal broke.
"On the basis of negotiations we have decided that Ms Kormúthová will not be the face of the International Gypsy Fest fashion show this year," Jozef Šivák, chair of the Roma Production civic association in Slovakia, told news server Romea.cz. The Slovak public broadcaster acted to quickly removed Kormúthová from tv screens and today its Communications Department announced it had ended her contract: "Given the situation that has arisen, we have ended our contractual cooperation with Ms Kristína Kormúthová as an anchor on RTVS."
RTVS said such a statement by an anchor was unacceptable and incompatible with the work of someone employed in the media. "RTVS unequivocally distances itself from the statements and personal opinions expressed by Ms Kormúthová, an outside contractor to RTVS, on her private social networking profile," Dominika Šulková, a spokesperson for RTVS, has confirmed.
The television broadcaster said that as an RTVS anchor, Kormúthová was representing an institution whose statutes declare that it rejects all forms of racism and supports tolerance. The users of online social networks very often do not realize their actions there are occurring in a public space, which is why we are, unfortunately, encountering scandals more and more often in which publicly active, well-known personalities disseminate racism and xenophobic sentiment.
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