Nico Semsrott leaves “The Party”. Reason: how the party leader dealt with allegations of racism. Sonneborn is self-critical.
BERLIN taz | Now there are only two left: the cabaret artist and MEP Nico Semsrott is leaving the satirical party “The Party”, but keeps his seat in parliament. The reason for leaving are accusations of racism against party leader Martin Sonneborn and his handling of it. This leaves the party with only two parliamentary mandates: that of Sonneborn himself in Brussels and that of the Bundestag member and ex-Social Democrat Marco Bülow, who only joined “The Party” in the autumn.
The reason for the criticism of Sonneborn was a photo that Sonneborn had tweeted last week. In the picture he is wearing a T-shirt that says: “Au Widelsehern, Amlerika! (…) Plinted in China for Die PALTEI ”. This should be an allusion to Donald Trump fan articles that were made in China despite his anti-Chinese policies – but also to alleged language errors of Chinese people.
Sonneborn reacted puffily to the accusation of anti-Asian racism, which was then raised by those affected. He deleted his tweet. In terms of content, however, he only commented on the criticism with snappy comments such as “Satire stimulates thought”, “I’m going to go sledding now” and “Tschaui”.
Semsrott criticized in his resignation, which he published on Wednesday, primarily Sonneborn’s “ignorant handling of feedback”. He wrote: “If people feel racially attacked by his postings, he doesn’t have to do much. Compassion and respect for those affected are enough to correct your own behavior. ”And further:“ I find his reaction to the criticism wrong and unacceptable. This has happened to me in other cases in the past. I now draw my conclusions from this. “
In fact, it is not the first time that Sonneborn uses racist clichés and blocks criticism of them. He was featured on an election poster in 2011 with a black make-up and the saying “Ick am Obama”. The Berlin newspaper he said in an interview last year: “Even if I wouldn’t repeat that today, I still think it’s okay. I’m not a racist. ”He does not discuss any such allegations.
On Wednesday evening he was more self-critical. He wrote in a statement, he did not think that his tweet could “feel racially discriminated against”. But: “If a joke leads to racist hurt, instead of giving reflections or at least a liberating laugh, then it is a failed joke.” He is sorry that people “were hurt by the reproduction of these stereotypes”.
Marco Bülow initially gave no response when asked. The member of the Bundestag resigned from the SPD in 2018 because of content-related differences and joined “The Party” in November 2020. The Dortmund resident would like to run again as a direct candidate in the federal election this year.
He actually wanted to rely on the support and tailwind of the satirical party. The latter was able to expand its election results at a low level and received 2.4 percent of the votes in the last European elections. “The Party” performed particularly well among young, male and metropolitan voters. In terms of content, the party focuses on jokes, such as the fight against lobbyism, against autocrats and against the law.