In a recently released video, a Roma man can be seen sitting in János Pócs’ furnace, while the Fidesz MP threatens to burn him. Although Pócs insists he was only joking, the recording has understandably upset many. Several Roma organizations have demanded Pócs be removed from the Parliament.
In the video, the man squats in a furnace loaded with flammable material and states that Pócs is angry with him for drinking too much. At one point, the man – who has since died – reminds Pócs that he has claimed to burn “every Roma in here.” Pócs responds by saying he only burns those he is “angry with.” He then tosses a lit sheet of paper into the boiler, closes the door, and leaves the screaming man behind. As he departs, Pócs can be heard declaring that perhaps this will teach the man to stop drinking.
Pócs defended his actions by assuring that the “victim” was a friend who “requested the recording be made.” In response to Index, Fidesz said that although the video was likely made in jest, it is “unfortunate” as it can be easily misinterpreted.
On Thursday, Jobbik MP Tamás Csányi announced his decision to file a criminal complaint against Pócs. Csányi highlighted Fidesz’s eagerness to skewer opposition politicians over their controversial statements, and pointed out that had a Jobbik politician made the same video, “they would have been crucified that same day.” Perhaps, he mused, “there would have even been calls to ban Jobbik.” He expressed disappointment about the ruling parties’ decision to merely accept Pócs’ “transparent explanation” and dismiss the episode as “unfortunate.”
Meanwhile, Roma organizations have adamantly demanded Pócs’ departure from the Parliament. On behalf of the Idetartozunk (We belong here) Association, Roma activist Jenő Setét wrote to the Prime Minister calling for Fidesz to immediately release Pócs from his parliamentary duties. “It has been 74 years since the victims of the Holocaust burned; now, the protection of human dignity is a collective and Christian responsibility,” he writes.
This is not the first time Pócs’ controversial actions have made headlines. Last year, he shared a photo to his Facebook page of a pig after it had been slaughtered. An inscription carved into the dead pig read: “Ő VOLT A SOROS!!!” Due to the particularities of the Hungarian language, this can mean either “he was next in line” or “he was Soros.” He denied any connection between the American billionaire –Europe and Hungary’s main enemy, according to the government’s campaigns – and the pig.