The columnist and author Judith Sevinc Basad resigned yesterday in an open letter to the BILD newspaper. The author of “Shame on you! How ideologists determine what is good and bad” sees no more journalistic freedom in the BILD under the current editor-in-chief Döpfner. One would have caved in to the “woken” co-owners from the USA. Here is the full text of the courageous letter:
Open letter from Judith Sevinc Basad16.6.2022
Dear Mathias Döpfner,
It is with great regret that I submitted my resignation to BILD.
When I started in the politics department of BILD a year ago, I was thrilled. I was proud to be part of an editorial board that so clearly and fearlessly analyses, names and describes anti-freedom ideologues.
Great reporters like Paul Ronzheimer not only risked their lives to report on the war crimes of the Russians in the Ukraine war or those of the Taliban in Afghanistan. They have also taken the world’s cruelest dictators to court, confronting them directly about their crimes against humanity. Ex-Bild boss Julian Reichelt wrote an open letter to Vladimir Putin during the Syrian war in 2016, asking the dictator: “How dare you act so barbarically on behalf of all Russians?”
Paul Ronzheimer traveled to Iran together with Heiko Maas in 2019 and asked the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif the question for which the German Foreign Minister lacked the courage: “Why are homosexuals executed in Iran?” Not only the answer with which Zarif justified the cruel executions, went around the world and revealed the barbarism of an inhuman regime. The incredible courage of Paul, who as a gay man in Iran could easily have been a victim of such an execution himself, was unique and was rightly celebrated by the international press.
Regardless of whether it was about the atrocities of powerful dictators, the contradictory corona policy of the federal government or social trends such as the gendering of the language – BILD was not intimidated by any authority in the world, by any convention, no matter how trendy, but fought like one old battleship for their own values: democracy, freedom of speech and Israel’s right to exist.
Again: I am incredibly proud that I was allowed to be part of this wonderful and courageous editorial team. The time at BILD is definitely one of the greatest and most instructive periods in my life that I will never forget. For that I would like to express my deepest gratitude.
In the end, the reason for my resignation is how Axel Springer, including your way of dealing with the woken movement, is dealing with it. I feel I can no longer report on the dangers posed by this social movement. And I have the feeling that the entire publishing house no longer has my back on this matter.
As a journalist, nothing has stumped me as much as the activism of a small minority that officially claims to stand for diversity, but pursues an ideology that is radical at its core.
For years I’ve watched even huge corporations cave in to the totalitarian demands of woken activists. I watched the only woman on Adidas’ board get fired for saying racism isn’t a big problem in her company. I have observed how lecturers at a medical university in the USA no longer speak of “father” and “mother” and “male” and “female” because otherwise they would be insulted as “transphobic” by radical activists. And I’ve reported on how anti-racism activists in German schools humiliate white children in order to strip them of their “white privilege”.
These issues are a hot topic. Anyone who writes about them must expect severe hostilities, which always follow the same pattern: Statements are deliberately taken out of context and misrepresented in order to defame critical voices as “right-wing” and thus throw them out of the discourse.
Trans activists, who make one of the crudest claims the 21st century has produced: that biological sex doesn’t exist, are particularly aggressive.
JK Rowling, the inventor of Harry Potter, is still wished for death by activists – videos circulating on the Internet in which Harry Potter books are banned. Professor Kathleen Stock recently resigned from her professorship at the University of Sussex because she could no longer stand the constant attacks by activists and was concerned about the well-being of her family. Both women were merely defending the fact that biological women cannot be biological men and vice versa. No more, no less.
Exactly this activism was pilloried by 120 German scientists in a 50-page dossier. in one world article five of these scientists explained how the crude theses of questionable activism are finding their way into young ÖRR formats in Germany as well. There is criticism that even children are taught that transition is the best option for them – without addressing the side effects of lifelong hormone therapies, puberty blockers and irreversible surgeries.
This is exactly what I wanted to report on in an article at BILD shortly after the world commentary was published. In the article, the child psychiatrist Prof. Dr. medical Alexander Korte, one of the 5 authors of the world commentary, with the following words:
“The appeal is not intended to discredit transsexual people – whose existence we accept and for whose suffering we have the utmost respect. It is also not about children not being informed about their sexuality at an early age. The call is about warning against dangerous misinformation – such as denial of biological facts and the myth of polysexuality, in short: the dissemination of unscientific facts”.
The article was prevented. I was told to criticize the call for scientists or the article would not appear. In fact, I was asked to negatively portray exactly what I have been fighting with idealism for years: to warn of the dangers of woken activism.
That alone wreaked havoc on me mentally. The situation came to a head when you, Mr. Döpfner, received a open letter sent to all Axel Springer employees.
Because with this letter, the group has caved in to the unbearable tyranny of the woken activists. The publishing house that has given me a journalistic homeland and that I always thought defended itself with a clear stance against ideologies – with this letter, this publishing house of all people adopted the meaningless rhetoric with which not only I, but every person, who conducts a differentiated criticism of the woken movement, is repeatedly defamed as a misanthrope.
It starts with the fact that you claim things in the letter that are not true: neither in the world commentary nor in the 50-page dossier is hatred against homosexuals or transsexuals, as it is read there. The scientists are also not concerned with preventing people from freely choosing their “fluid gender identity”, for example forbidding a woman to live as a man (and vice versa) or identifying herself as a “non-binary” person.
Again: The entire criticism of the dossier and the world comment refers to an unscientific ideology that is increasingly influencing public service broadcasting: the claim that one can change one’s biological sex through a simple speech act.
That you, as the head of Axel Springer, misrepresent this fact, that you actually deny that there are two biological sexes (but in the same breath accuse the authors of “pseudoscience”) – that you dismiss the authors of the guest commentary and their entire criticism as Inciting hate speech against minorities, even defaming them as homophobic, and silencing their critical voice in the best manner of cancel culture – that shocked me deeply and still shocks me now.
It shocked me that the colossus Axel Springer, who regularly shoots at the worst dictators in the world, suddenly allowed himself to be brought to his knees by the meaningless propaganda of a woken minority, while at the same time deriding his own journalists as misanthropes, who work on this bizarre don’t want to take part in acting.
Another thing that irritates me in the long term is the bigotry with which you tried to talk your way out of the affair at the same time. On the one hand, you said that the open letter only reflects the opinion of the head of the group and that no political direction is being imposed on BILD. On the other hand, the letter states that the guest comment “certainly does not reflect the opinion of the whole house”, but that Axel Springer – on the contrary – stands for “diversity and freedom”.
But what do “diversity and freedom” mean here, Mr. Döpfner? If “diversity and freedom” consists of putting an op-ed in the right-hand corner without context, then I wonder if the main purpose is not to annoy the woken US editors at Axel Springer. This has nothing to do with “diversity and freedom”, but with conformity and submission.
A few days after your letter, you had an emotional debate with us, which has meanwhile also been conducted publicly and has therefore also reached the editors.
There you again defended the contents of your letter and emphatically repeated your criticism of the comment. In this context, you spoke about the moral duty of an editorial team not to publish every claim in a newspaper just because it gives the impression of being scientific. You cited studies by Holocaust deniers as an example.
I don’t know exactly in which direction Axel Springer is currently steering, which new ideals of “diversity and freedom” are to be established in the corporate culture in the future. But anyone who draws such comparisons to Holocaust deniers is not far from relativizing the Holocaust itself. I can’t imagine that this is actually your interpretation of a diverse and liberal corporate culture.
Judith Joy Basad
The book “Shame on you! How ideologists determine what is good and bad“, is also available from KOPP-Verlag.
Judith Sevinç Basad is outraged – and vehemently opposes the belief in enlightened opinion-making, the ban on thinking and the vagueness of the arguments of a self-proclaimed cultural elite. If you look closely, is it really the case that the “privileged” prevent the social advancement of migrant children? Can only a woman know how to make politics for women? Is “MeToo” a consistently louder movement? Is disempowering the “old white man” enough in the fight against racism? In fact, it’s almost becoming fashionable to call out “Shame on you” to those who think differently, thus shutting them up.