Federal court: Blick mockery went too far

With its mockery of Michael von der Heide as a "faggot" after his unsuccessful appearance at the Eurovision Song Contest, Blick has violated the personality of the chansonnier. Ringier was turned down by the Federal Court.

Michael von der Heide scored only two points for Switzerland at the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) 2010 with his song "Il pleut de l'or" and finished last. Lena Meyer-Landrut won for Germany with her song "Satellite. Blick published a photo montage on the front page at the end of May 2010.

5000 francs satisfaction

Lena Meyer-Landrut's body was precisely fitted with Michael von der Heide's head, and next to it was the text: "We want a Lena too! ...but no more von der Heide". On complaint by the chansonnier, the Zurich judiciary came to the conclusion that Blick had violated his personality with this contribution. Von der Heide was awarded compensation of 5,000 Swiss francs. The publishing house Ringier appealed to the Federal Court, but has now been dismissed. According to the court, Blick publicly exposed von der Heide to ridicule and mocked him as a homosexual and for his failure as a singer. With the montage of the head of the self-confessed gay von der Heide on the body of Lena, who is portrayed as smart and attractive, as well as the female form used in the text, he is "portrayed for the average reader as what can be understood casually and also pejoratively under the term 'faggot'.

Neither satire nor humor

Blick had thus violated von der Heide's social standing as a man and his professional reputation as a well-known chansonnier with a male voice. The portrayal was mere vituperative criticism and could not be justified as satire or humor. Blick does not want to be a satirical or joke magazine, and its readers do not expect anything humorous on the front page. The invective against von der Heide was also disproportionate to the importance of the ESC, at which other representatives of Switzerland had also recently not been particularly successful. Finally, according to the court, the amount of the awarded compensation of 5000 Swiss francs is not objectionable. In the opinion of the judges in Lausanne, their colleagues in Zurich were entitled to assume, based on general life experience, that the Blick article had caused von der Heide severe emotional pain. (SDA)

Image: Keystone

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