Hungarian Press Roundup: More on the Coca-Cola Ad Skirmish
Hungary Today 2019.08.13.
The debate about Coca-Cola’s billboards promoting acceptance of same-sex couples continues. A liberal and a pro-government weekly both link the dispute over Coke ads depicting gay couples to migration and civilizational issues. Alt-left bloggers wonder if the Left should follow the lead of a multinational company by advocating gay rights. A pro-government columnist calls for more tolerance from liberal gay-rights activists.
In a front-page editorial, Magyar Narancs finds nauseating the suggestions of pro-government opinion maker and of István Boldog Fidesz MP that homosexuality is a dangerous and contagious disease. The liberal weekly thinks that the government wants to target homosexuals to maintain its fear-mongering campaign, as it can no longer use migrants and the EU to create a perfect enemy to hate.
Magyar Demokrata editor-in-chief András Bencsik accuses the Coca-Cola Company of ‘aggressively spreading homosexual propaganda’. The pro-government commentator wonders if the pro-gay ad campaign is part of a larger scheme to erase European civilization. Bencsik speculates that advocating homosexuality, giving birth to fewer children to slow down overpopulation, and warning of global warming are all part of the same ideology. He goes so far as to wonder if at some point ‘stubborn heterosexuals will be thinned out’.
In Mérce, the alt-left gay rights activist Orsolya Lehotai claims that right-wing critiques of the Coke ad aim to reinforce masculine standards advocated by the ‘current regime’. Lehotai thinks that the open display of male bodies in intimate contexts threatens conservative views on traditional gender roles that underpin the current ‘partiarchal’ and ‘hegemonic’ hierarchies.
Writing in the same blog, András Jámbor finds it controversial that a multinational company has become the flagship of gay rights in Hungary. The anti-capitalist alt-left pundit thinks that Coca-Cola is only interested in higher profits rather than the equality of homosexuals. Jámbor calls on politicians and intellectuals who pose with Coke bottles to do something more meaningful for the full equality of gays.
Magyar Nemzet’s Bence Apáti accuses gays of using accusations of homophobia as a political tool. The conservative columnist rejects hatred towards homosexuals but demands the right to openly admit that he feels at unease at the sight of kissing men. Apáti finds it complacent to accuse Hungary of homophobia. He points out that gay couples can live in registered partnerships and although same-sex couples cannot adopt children, many do raise their own. Apáti lambasts liberal suggestions that those who do not endorse gay marriage are closet gays themselves. He calls on liberals to be more tolerant and less aggressive with people who do not endorse their views on homosexuality.