Hungary

Anti-LGBT Hungarian politician arrested at gay sex party, after breaking COVID-19 regulations

REPORT

József Szájer, former Member of the European Parliament, was arrested on 27 November in Brussels for breaking the local COVID-19 regulations, as he attempted to leave unnoticed from a gay sex party, involving at least 25 men, by climbing naked down a gutter. The report from the Public Prosecutors’ Office also states that Szájer’s backpack contained narcotics. Following the scandal, Szájer resigned from the European Parliamentary Assembly two days later.

The Sex Party

The sex party involved 25 men and was organised by PhD student David Manzheley. Manzheley claims that the original lineup had only initially involved ten guests, and that Szájer was not personally invited by the host. Szájer stayed silent for a few days, but later issued the following statement

“The news reported in the Belgian press about a private party in Brussels, on Friday. I was present. After the police asked for my identity – since I did not have ID on me – I declared that I was an MEP. The police continued the process and finally issued an official verbal warning and transported me home. […] I deeply regret violating the COVID restrictions, it was irresponsible on my part. I am ready to accept the fine that occurs.”

In relation to the narcotics found in his backpack, Szájer stated he did not use any drugs: “According to the police they found an ecstasy pill, but it was not mine. I have no knowledge of who placed it or how it was placed there.”

Szájer’s anti-LGBT stance

Observers have been quick to note the irony of József Szájer’s participation in what local press have described as a gay orgy. Before his resignation he was a founder and a member of Fidesz, the right-wing Christian, national-conservative and overtly anti-LGBTQ+ governing party of Hungary. Szájer has played a key role in the party’s constant effort to reinforce so-called ‘traditional family values’ in Hungary. Specifically, Szájer drafted Hungary’s homophobic constitution that explicitly defines marriage as between a man and a woman, as “the basis of the family and national survival”. Szájer’s arrest at the gay sex party in Brussels also comes just weeks after adoption for same-sex couples was banned in Hungary. 

The aftermath

József Szájer resigned from his mandate at the European Parliament and left Fidesz on 29 November, two days before the news of the arrest broke out. The original statement made by Fidesz, before the story broke, thanked Szájer for his work – “he played a key role in putting conservatism and Christian democracy on the pedestal it deserves in the European Parliament”. On the 2nd of December, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán added that “[what József Szájer has done] is unacceptable according to the values of our political community. […] After what had happened, he made the only valid choice, which was to apologise, resign from his mandate and quit our party. His decision has been noted.”  


Whilst the story has made an impression on the international press, it seems unlikely that this scandal will influence Orbán’s domestic power, as he continues his uninterrupted reign as Prime Minister since 2010.

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