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Orbán: MT wrong to fire pop star over sexist remarks

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MTI/ Gergely Botár

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said during a press conference in Brussels Friday that the decision by Magyar Telekom to pull sponsorship of Hungarian pop singer Ákos over sexist remarks “may seem minor” but raises “important theoretical and constitutional questions”.

Hungaryʼs Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at his press conference in Brussels on Friday. (Photo: MTI/Gergely Botár)

Speaking after a summit in Brussels, Orbán said that the matter is about freedom of expression, adding it is an obligation of the government to ensure that parties have an opportunity to put their opinion forward, even if others may disagree, MTI reported.

“The question is whether a multinational company can punish someone because it does not like that personʼs views,” MTI quoted Orbán as saying. The prime minister stressed that Magyar Telekom is a strategic partner of the government and “it must respect values that are protected by the Hungarian Constitution”.

Magyar Telekom, the Hungarian unit of German telco giant Deutsche Telekom canceled its sponsorship contract with Ákos last week, after the singer gave an interview in which he said that it is fine if women earn less than men and that the most important role for women is to “belong to someone” and to “give birth to children”.

Ákos, a vocal supporter of the ruling Fidesz party, was echoing the sentiments of some members of the Hungarian government, who have been pushing a pro-family agenda that encourages women to stay home and have children.

Saying Magyar Telekom is guilty of an “opinion dictatorship”, the Hungarian government canceled mobile internet contracts with the carrier in what it said was a symbolic retaliation.

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