PVV walks out of debate after Wilders joke

no image
No image availableNL Times

PVV frontrunner in The Hague, Leon de Jong, walked out of an AD Omroep West election debate Friday night because of jokes coming from comedian and AD-columnist Sjaak Bral.  Bral performed a musical interlude during the debate. Before he played his guitar, he took aim at De Jong. He referred to a comment PvdA governing board member Fouad Sidali, who compared PVV leader Geert Wilders to Hitler. Bral said that the comparison is a lame one. "Hitler came so much further", he said. "However, Wilders recently said that he's a fan of the Smurfs. They also have one people, one leader, one color. Maybe there is something in that after all."

After the comment, De Jong got up, and left the theater after a short discussion with Bral. His entourage did the same. "This is going a thousand steps too far", De Jong said before he left the building. "I am not letting my voter be cast aside as Nazi. I am not going to sit in a room in which we are going to be ridiculed so outrageously." De Jong's reaction mainly caused confusion. During the debate, SP frontrunner Bart van Kent said "It is very sad that a party that always uses such big words en stands behind freedom of expressing opinion, walks away when a joke is made." Sjaak Bral said it was a shame that the joke disrupted the discussion, but he made the decision to make the joke and is sticking by it. De Jong stayed away for the rest of the debate. He later took to Twitter for a reaction, saying "Hitler-comparison abject and unacceptable. That's why left debate." Wilders said on Wednesday last week on the campaign trail for De Jong that The Hague should become "a city with less problems and fewer Moroccans." This sent a barrage of complaints his way, and several comparisons to Adolf Hitler as well. Wilders himself threatened to take anyone to court who compared him to Hitler again. The PVV is only campaigning in The Hague and Almere. In The Hague, the party is neck and neck with the PvdA, and the D66 is following closely behind.