After the rejection of the author Jasmina Kuhnke, other prominent guests now show solidarity: They do not appear at the Frankfurt Book Fair. Among them is the well-known influencer Riccardo Simonetti.
The author and internet activist Jasmina Kuhnke made the start. Now more guests are following: Because right-wing publishers are also exhibiting at the fair, the actresses Annabelle Mandeng and Nikeata Thompson, the influencer Riccardo Simonetti and the inclusion activist Raul Krauthausen announced their cancellation on Wednesday.
Thompson, Simonetti and Krauthausen, like the black German Kuhnke, who was the first to withdraw her visit on Twitter for fear of right-wing extremist attacks, were scheduled as guests on the ARD book fair stage.
Review: Book fair gives right-wing extremists a stage
Thompson and Mandeng both have African roots and write about blackness and the fight against racism in their new books. Mandeng described the defensive stance of the Frankfurt Book Fair in her Instagram post about the rejection as “terrifying”. Racism and anti-Semitism have nothing to do with democracy.
Thompson declared that freedom of expression should not be the “greatest good” in a democracy, but rather “equality of all people, cohesion, solidarity and mutual support”. Instead, the book fair gives right-wing extremists a voice and a stage “under the guise of freedom of expression”. She also canceled her visit in an Instagram post.
Influencer Riccardo Simonetti also showed solidarity and canceled his visit to Instagram on Wednesday at short notice: If authors like Kuhnke had to cancel their visit, then the book fair was “not a place where I would feel comfortable”. He urged the book fair to reconsider its position on the matter.
On Tuesday, the Anne Frank educational institution, which is also exhibiting at the book fair, and the parliamentary group on the left also joined the criticism. Raul Krauthausen, who announced his cancellation on Wednesday evening, had already warned against “too much tolerance towards the intolerant” at the press conference for the opening of the book fair.
Book fair maintains the presence of right-wing publishers
On Wednesday morning, the Frankfurt Book Fair repeatedly referred to freedom of expression and freedom of publication. “They are the basis for enabling free exchange in our democracy and the book fair at all,” says a jointly published declaration by the book fair and the German book trade association.
Publishers operating within the framework of the legal system could exhibit at the fair “even if we do not share their views”. The organizers also emphasized: “In our constitutional state, the ban on publishing houses or publishing products is incumbent on the courts, and not on individual actors like the Frankfurt Book Fair.” At the same time, the book fair and the stock exchange association expressed their regrets about the rejection of individual authors. “Your voices against racism and your advocacy of diversity will be missing at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
Kuhnke called for a boycott on Twitter
The controversy surrounding the presence of right-wing publishers was set in motion by the 39-year-old internet activist Jasmina Kuhnke, known on the net as an activist for women’s rights, against right-wing extremism and for minorities. On her Twitter account “Quattromilf” she called on other authors to show their solidarity and to boycott the book fair. For fear of right-wing extremist attacks on her person, she decided not to go to the book fair.
In particular, she criticized the Jungeuropa publishing house, which is an exhibitor at the book fair. The publishing house is headed by the right-wing extremist Philip Stein. Kuhnke wanted to present her first book “Black Heart” at the fair, which tells the (discrimination) story of a Black German who grew up in Germany. For security reasons, however, Kuhnke’s arrival was not officially announced beforehand – she is repeatedly attacked personally.
Because it is not an attribute that aims at skin color, but a constructed political and social classification, we capitalize the term “black” in this article. In this context, being black is associated with shared experiences of racism and does not mean an assignment to an ethnic group.
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