Social organizations want DJ prosecuted for racist coronavirus song
Six social organizations filed a so-called Article 12 procedure to try and force the Public Prosecution Service (OM) to prosecute radio DJ Lex Gaarthuis or his song about the coronavirus. "Much is tolerated under the guise of artistic freedom, while such a song symbolizes the everyday racism we face," Wei Lun Lam of Asian Raisins said to NOS.
Gaarthuis sang his carnival song 'Voorkomen is beter dan Chinezen', which literally translates to "Prevention is better than Chinese", for the first time on Radio 10 in February. In the song he sings about the coronavirus, linking it to Chinese people and eating Chinese food.
The police and the Discrimination hotline received thousands of reports about the song, with five people actually pressing charges. In June, a Dutch-Chinese woman was attacked in the elevator on the way to her student flat in Tilburg after she asked a group of young people to stop singing the song at her. Nearly 58 thousand people signed a petition against the song and other racism against Chinese people.
A week after the broadcast, Gaarthuis apologized in his program and said that he had "gone far beyond the limits of proper decency" with the sketch. "I made a big mistake and now realize how much I hurt people in the Chinese community."
In June, the OM decided not to prosecute Gaarthuis, saying the song was satirical and fit "within the context of the artistic expression". The DJ's apologies played a role in this decision.
But according to three Asian-Dutch organizations and three anti-discrimination organizations, that is not good enough. They believe the song incited hatred, discrimination, and violence and filed an Article 12 procedure, with which the court can force the OM to prosecute a case.
"The OM ruled that the statements are not unnecessarily offensive, but the many reactions and reports give a different picture," Hui-Hui Pan of Pan Asian Collective said to the broadcaster.