Austrian far-right leader swats at rumors he was secretly vaccinated
Passionate antidote critic sees his credibility under attack.
The vaccine-hating leader of Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) is taking legal action to silence talk that he has — oops! — secretly been inoculated against COVID-19.
“Whether or not someone gets vaccinated against Corona has to be their free choice. That’s the freedom of access. I am not vaccinated,” reads a statement released by FPÖ leader Herbert Kickl.
But that’s not what one hears around the water cooler, according to PR strategist Wolfgang Rosam. Speaking with internet portal oe24, Rosam referenced “a rumor that he [Kickl] has already been vaccinated. If that is indeed the case, he will have to resign.”
It is an awkward situation for Kickl, who has continuously raged against COVID-19 vaccinations in his public appearances, reviling them as “a genetic engineering experiment.” He claims the scuttlebutt is an attack on his “political credibility through fake assumptions and their reproduction.”
According to Der Standard, Kickl’s lawyer filed a court injunction against Rosam in Vienna on Monday, alleging that Rosam’s comments are “an insult to honor and damaging to credit.”
Rosam has taken the lawsuit in stride and welcomed a hearing in court. “There we can also clarify his inconceivable false statements that the intensive care units are full of vaccinated patients,” he said. Alternatively, he said Kickl can set the record straight himself — by submitting to an antibody test.
The Kickl kerfuffle has touched a sore spot for the FPÖ. More and more party members are being outed as vaccinated, among them former party leader Norbert Hofer.