24 fined for racist comments on anti-blackface Facebook video
The court convicted 24 people for racist, inflammatory, discriminatory, or insulting statements aimed at journalist and presenter Clarice Gargarde after she live-streamed an anti-Zwarte Piet protest on Facebook in 2018. They were given fines of between 300 and 450 euros and community service.
Nearly 8 thousand comments were made on the live stream of a Kick Out Zwarte Piet protest at the Sinterklaas arrival party in Amstelveen in November 2018, including death threats and calls for demonstrators to be killed. Gargarde reported them to the police and 200 were investigated for possible punishable offenses.
A total of 25 people ended up in court in September. The court ruled on Monday. One person was acquitted due to lack of evidence, the others were convicted for inciting violence, discrimination, inciting discrimination, or insult.
The court said that all of the suspects used abusive language, with some being "particularly insulting about black people", noting that they had "considerable impact" on the journalist.
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) said that the comments on the social media post "were not appropriate reactions, but an absolutely undesirable contribution to an increasingly polarizing and violent climate in our society."
"The OM hopes that today's convictions will make it even clearer that freedom of expression has limits and where those limits lie," the OM said. "Racist, offensive and criminal statements are not protected by the freedom of expression."