Last week I reported on the ZAPP magazine’s defamation of actress Silvana Heißenberg, which appears to have aired some while ago on public broadcaster NDR. This Wednesday, conservative blog JouWatch reached out to ZAPP to see if they regret their devastating action. I translate their letter to office leader and host Anja Reschke:
Dear Mrs Reschke,
On 12th October 2016 you presented at ZAPP a video about actress Silvana Heißenberg which called her the “false woman of the week”, “far-right” and “the last pick” [a common degrading term, German original: ‘das Allerletzte’]. At the end of it you triumphantly announced “RTL won’t book her ever again”.
Many citizens have come to hold similar views to Mrs Heißenberg’s. As far as we know it is not forbidden in the Federal Republic of Germany to be conservative or to have right-wing opinions that were commonplace in the platform of [Merkel’s party] CDU/CSU not more than ten years ago, as long as such opinions don’t break the law.
We have a some questions for you:
- How is it the job of public broadcasters to pry on the political attitudes of actors on Facebook?
- How did you come to choose this topic? Was it a coincidents or did you do targeted research on Facebook for unfavorable opinions?
- Would you do the same for actors who comment on or ‘like’ topics about Antifa, G20, TTIP or Occupy? If not, why not?
- Could you imagine that you might hold a minority opinion one day yourself and being called ‘the false woman of the week’ and to see your own career terminated?
- We are in touch with Mrs Heißenberg. What would you like to tell her?
Lead editor of ZAPP Annette Leiterer answered on Reschke’s behalf:
There is a lot written about our show ZAPP on the 12th October 2016, apparently in ignorance of the actual video. If you had seen the entire video, some of your questions would already be answered. Nevertheless, I am going to explain what happened. Here the link to the video.
It is easy to see that ZAPP is a satirical show with diverse topics, which the editors find noteworthy. The video titles align in a certain way, e.g. the „false“ interview, the „false film“ or the „false woman“. Under the latter ZAPP reported on Mrs Heißenberg on that date [I shorten the translation a bit because it’s repetitive and vastly irrelevant]. In real life she made public comments that are in the opinion of the makers of our media magazine ZAPP not covered by freedom of speech.
Silvana Heißenberg demands that the federal police arrests the government and calls ministers „rats“. Of course, citizens of Germany are allowed to be conservative or voice right-wing views and may criticize the federal government, but they must not call them ‘rats’, which is what we consider a transgression. Channel RTL announced no longer to hire Frau Heißenberg as an actress.
We reported on it and stand with our reporting. We have not called Mrs Heißenberg ‘the last pick’.
If Mrs Heißenberg wants to contact us directly, she is welcome.
She might be interessierted in one of our upcoming topics. It is to be about ‘net neutrality’ and on how the US government in dealing with right-wing publication are leaving that behind. We want to combine that with the question of how that can be played out in Germany.“
The full video that she links to was already part of my post last week and people complaining about it have seen it. It is also interesting how the left pretends not to understand humor again. The factual destruction of a career with a smear campaign, the results of which can be shown for almost a year now, is not a joke. Usually, conservatives make jokes and leftists scream bloody murder, now leftists air something in dead serious voice without punchline, twist or allusion or anything and the real occupational ban that followed and continues for months until (at least) today is expected to be seen as a joke.
Silvana Heißenberg claims that the meme with the word ‘rats’ in proximity to photos of German politicians only showed up for a few seconds on her Facebook page before disappearing again and most visitors wouldn’t read that anyway. For me that is irrelevant. How is it even a thing?
The smear phrase ‘the last pick’ (German: das Allerletzte) was indeed attached to either Mrs Heißenberg or her behavior. ZAPP’s letter is clearly lying in this regard as their own video evidence shows. However, that is not even the problem.
The problem is the destruction of a career and the hardly hidden threat to JouWatch and other oppositional media: The upcoming reporting on how to kill net neutrality and go after conservatives.