The Broadcasting Council of the public service broadcaster Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) dismissed Patricia Schlesinger as artistic director on Monday. This formally initiates the termination of the contract. The broadcaster confirmed via Twitter information that was first distributed via dpa.
Now the RBB board of directors still has to terminate the contract, according to the announcement. It is also about details such as a possible severance payment or possible claims for damages by the broadcaster against Schlesinger.
The 61-year-old resigned about a week ago as head of the ARD broadcaster because of numerous allegations, including nepotism. A few days earlier, she had already retired as ARD chairwoman.
The case has plunged the broadcaster into an unprecedented crisis, which is also having an impact on all public service broadcasters. Patricia Schlesinger has been director since 2016. Her second term should have lasted until 2026.
Patricia Schlesinger herself took part in the Broadcasting Council meeting. She defended her work as head of the station to the members of the broadcasting and administrative boards, but also apologized for the circumstances to which the station and its employees are exposed as a result of the allegations.
The “Süddeutsche Zeitung” quoted from Schlesinger’s speech manuscript on Monday. She explained the high costs for the conversion of the executive floor – it should be around 1.4 million euros – with an “overdue pollutant and fire protection renovation”. As in the interview with the Tagesspiegel, Schlesinger justified the dinners in her private rooms with the fact that she wanted to anchor the station better in the city and country through a “format for multipliers, for interesting people to exchange ideas”. Schlesinger also commented on the cost increases for the construction of the digital media house. The reasons for this are rescheduling and general price increases.
The 16 percent increase in her director’s salary to 303,000 euros and the payment of additional bonuses for 2021 are also criticized to have.
The DJV Berlin – JVBB welcomes the decision of the rbb broadcasting council to recall Patricia Schlesinger from the post of director of broadcasting Berlin-Brandenburg. “The Broadcasting Council’s decision is correct and consistent,” said Steffen Grimberg, state chairman of the journalists’ association. “The fact that this decision was made almost unanimously shows how sustained the basis of trust between the top rbb committee and Ms. Schlesinger has been destroyed.”
“The decision of the Broadcasting Council is a logical step. The way is now free to consistently devote oneself to the task of regaining lost trust. Discussions about a successor are therefore only the second step for me. First we have to fully clarify the allegations and reform structures in such a way that such events as in the Schlesinger case are no longer possible in the future,” said Jan Redmann, chairman of the CDU parliamentary group in the Brandenburg state parliament.
In terms of RBB, the motto now applies: After the special meeting is before the next extraordinary meeting. On Tuesday from 10 a.m. interim director Hagen Brandstätter, head of the administrative board Dorette König and Friederike von Kirchbach as chairwoman of the administrative board in the budget committee of the state of Brandenburg will answer questions from the MPs. Schlesinger and the former chief inspector Wolf-Dieter Wolf stayed away from the first special session despite being invited, which loudly annoyed the parliamentarians from Brandenburg. The meeting this Tuesday is public, RBB television also broadcasts.
While in Berlin and Potsdam one extraordinary meeting follows the next, interrupted by committee meetings in the Brandenburg state parliament, there is no such hurry elsewhere. In Berlin, the topic of RBB in the Prussian state parliament, the seat of the Berlin House of Representatives, will probably only be discussed in the next regular session. The problems at RBB have long since become a burden for the entire ARD. The directors of the broadcasting network exchanged views on the state of affairs on Masurenallee in various special digital channels. The ARD communication does not want to say anything about the topics, they want to “first discuss the talks internally”. A special conference on the consequences of the RBB affair is not planned. “The next regular meeting in attendance is – as of now – planned for September 13th and 14th,” was announced on request.
The manager and journalist faces numerous allegations of nepotism. In addition to the 61-year-old, the focus is on RBB chief controller Wolf-Dieter Wolf, who has also resigned. Both rejected allegations.
The public prosecutor’s office in Berlin is investigating against Schlesinger, against the former “Spiegel” journalist Spörl and against Wolf on suspicion of infidelity and acceptance of benefits.
Before the Broadcasting Council meeting, the RBB editorial committee asked the committee to do everything possible to ensure that all contracts, bonuses, performance-related salary components, bonuses, business, economic and special reports are disclosed in the broadcaster.
It was also said that the Broadcasting Council must also face up to its responsibilities. The committee asked how it could be that all control mechanisms had apparently failed.