Lithuanian MEP told to explain homophobic remarks

Viktor Uspaskich in a 2016 file photo. [European Parliament multimedia centre]

A Lithuanian MEP whose Facebook page features a video of him calling gays or transvestites “perverts” has been given until Thursday (14 January) to explain and apologise if he wants to stay in his political group.

Viktor Uspaskich, a leader of Lithuania’s populist Labour party and a member of the centrist Renew grouping in the European Parliament, published the live Facebook video on Sunday.

In it, he can be heard talking about individuals who “feel a certain inclination,” and stating: “Those who put their dick under a skirt and go into the street and shout, they are perverts, and such things must not be tolerated.”

The head of the Renew group, Dacian Cioloș, sent an email to Uspaskich late Monday demanding the Russian-born Lithuanian MEP explain himself, according to a copy seen by AFP.

“I must insist that you take back these despicable homophobic remarks and apologize to both the public and to your colleagues in Renew Europe for the hurt you have inflicted,” Cioloș wrote.

“I expect this from you no later than Thursday January 14 at noon (1100 GMT).”

Cioloș added that he would leave it to the Renew group members to decide “if your explanation and apology is sufficient to allow you to remain in our Group”.

Cioloș said if he did not receive a reply, or the response was “deemed unsatisfactory”, he would hold a vote to kick Uspaskich out.

The outrage in the European Parliament erupted just six weeks after a Hungarian MEP belonging to populist Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party was caught by police breaking Belgian coronavirus restrictions at an alleged gay orgy.

That MEP, József Szájer, a fierce proponent of anti-LGBT measures favoured by Orbán, resigned from the party and quit the European Parliament.

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