The Hungarian government fired on Monday, November 6, the director of the National Museum of Hungary, who "failed" in his duty to apply the law prohibiting minors' access to an exhibition offering content evoking homosexuality.
Director Laszlo Simon “did not respect the legal obligations incumbent upon him” and “had behavior that made it impossible to continue his mission,” the Ministry of Culture said in a press release, specifying that the measure took effect immediately. Until Sunday, the National Museum of Hungary presented the photos awarded in 2023 by World Press Photo, which rewards “the best visual journalism” in the world each year. But the far-right Our Homeland party denounced this exhibition, because it showed without restrictions photos of an LGBT community in the Philippines.
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He believed that it violated a 2021 law prohibiting any mention of homosexuality to minors in public. In Hungary, a member country of the European Union (EU) governed since 2010 by the nationalist Viktor Orban, it is forbidden to discuss this subject outside of private circles among those under the age of eighteen, under penalty of financial sanctions. The Hungarian Ministry of Culture therefore ordered the National Museum to prevent children from entering the exhibition rooms. But the museum told AFP on Wednesday that it could not control identity documents and was relying on the “cooperation” of visitors.
The director of the National Museum is a former deputy of Viktor Orban's Fidesz party and as such, he voted for this law opposed by NGOs, which the EU intends to cancel through an infringement procedure still in progress. On Facebook, he said he “cannot accept” his dismissal, saying he had not deliberately “violated the law”. Last week, he ironically thanked the far right on Facebook for having aroused public interest in his exhibition. In return, the latter was indignant that he was “making fun of his own government, which is unusual, because Viktor Orban does not tolerate this kind of thing”. In Hungary, fellow travelers of Viktor Orban have been regularly ousted since 2010 after contesting his actions.