Does the newspaper “Die Welt” create a mood against sexual and gender diversity and its representation? That is the fierce accusation from Stuart Bruce Cameron, head of the Uhlala Group, who accused Springer-Verlag of the queer job fair “Sticks
One after the other: In this week’s guest article in the daily newspaper of the Axel Springer publishing house, five authors accused ARD and ZDF of indoctrinating “our children” with reference to the public service program. There is “transgender ideology in the ‘Show with the Mouse’, videos on penis removal or drug sex.
Not only, but also the queer scene was appalled.
Apparently Döpfner couldn’t leave it that way. In the letter to the Springer employees, he complained that “the” public service broadcasters “were being criticized “generally” for their reporting on transsexual identities among children and young people. Overall” it “implies that there are only two gender identities. Scientifically, the text is at best roughly one-sided, the “whole tone superficial, condescending and resentful. Not far removed from the reactionary attitude: homosexuality is a disease.”
Strong tones, which the CEO then followed with something relativizing. He did not clarify whether it was correct to publish this post. He advocated the diversity of opinion, which also applies here, pointing out that it was a guest contribution. He also criticizes the Uhlala Group, which uninvited Springer Verlag from the queer job fair on June 11th.
Uhlala boss Cameron thus identified the entire Springer group with the newspaper article. On the other hand, Springer boss Döpfner takes a stand. Because of a guest article in a newspaper, “18,000 employees of this company were held jointly liable”. And that despite the fact that the group has supported the queer job fair since 2010 and is involved in LGBTIAQ issues.
This is a (bad) example of the “polarization of politics and society” and the lack of a culture of debate. The Uhlala managing director Cameron had been invited by the editors of “Welt” to represent “a detailed counter-position”.
Cameron wanted to think about whether and how he would respond to this. “This evening I read the message from Matthias Döpfner to the employees of Axel Springer SE published in ‘Welt’ and the offer it contained to me to contribute an article to ‘Welt’. I’ll be more than happy to comment on this on Tuesday. But now I wish everyone a wonderful and sunny long Pentecost weekend,” wrote the Uhlala boss on Friday on Facebook.
Is there an approximation of the positions? Or a lasting damage to the image of the publisher? If you ask around at Springer, the mood is particularly tense among queer employees. They have distanced themselves from the post on Instagram (“This text was a NIGHTMARE”)
A Springer company spokesman told the Tagesspiegel on Sunday that Axel Springer as a company advocates freedom as the most important value. “An essential part of this is freedom of expression. The article in question is a guest comment clearly marked as such.”
As such, he does not represent the opinion of the “Welt” editorial team and also not the line of the house of Axel Springer. It is the journalistic core concern of “Welt” to make diverse and also controversial voices heard and thus initiate debates.
“As with all other debates, objections are not only welcome, they are taken for granted. We regret the decision to withdraw Axel Springer from the Sticks
“Welt” editor-in-chief Ulf Poschardt has already announced on Twitter that he will stay closer to the debate.
On Saturday, Poschardt followed up “on his own behalf” in the “Welt”: “We published a guest article that not only led to a content-related controversy, but also alienated many people – also within our company. What do we learn from this?”
Guest posts are never intended to formulate end points of debates or to insist that these are final words. “The article also led to long and fundamental discussions in our editorial team.”
One point here: it is wrong to put a rainbow flag next to the mouse from the “Show with the Mouse” and to talk about a “sexualization” of children, about their “re-education” in the title of the corresponding article. The rainbow banner has nothing to do with abuse or re-education, it celebrates the self-determination and freedom of responsible people, which also includes their sexuality.
The editor-in-chief concludes: “We liberals believe in nothing so much as the freedom of the individual, which logically and quite naturally also implies personal choice of who or what to love.”
It also implies the question of self-understanding, which sexual identity one wants to live. Any process of emancipation, whatever the minority, represents a tremendous and valuable opportunity for progress. “We want to accompany these processes. But these processes can only succeed if all parts of society are heard, seen and understood. That is our claim.”