Warsaw, Poland – Gazeta Polska, one of Poland’s popular conservative newspapers, announced it will issue ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers with its next issue to be released next week.
With a circulation of around 110,000, Gazeta Polska is widely considered as a government mouth-piece and open supporter of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party which has repeatedly labelled LGBT rights as a threat to Poland’s traditional values.
On Wednesday, it posted a preview of the ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers on its Twitter account, showing a rainbow flag with a black cross over it.
The controversial move quickly prompted outrage and faced a backlash on social media. Deputy-mayor of Warsaw Pawel Rabiej tweeted: “German fascists created Jew-free zone”, adding that he would file an official complaint.
U.S. ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher also criticized the stickers for promoting “hatred and intolerance”. “We respect freedom of speech, but we must stand together on the side of values such as diversity and tolerance”, Washington’s envoy wrote on Twitter.
Polish actress and columnist Paulina Mlynarska commented: “This is fascism officially introduced in Poland […]. What’s next? Rainbow armbands?”.
Gazeta Polska editor Tomasz Sakiewicz responded that “we are opposed only to the imposition of views by force. Being an activist in the gay movement does not make anyone more tolerant”.
After the picture of the sticker was censored by Instagram for promoting hate speech, Sakiewicz reportedly said that “censorship was typical of Nazism”.
Pawel Lisicki, editor of another right-wing conservative paper Do Rzeczy, meanwhile lauded the initiative of the ‘LGBT-free zone’ stickers.
Over the past few months, over thirty cities and municipalities across Poland have passed resolutions saying they were “free from the LGBT ideology”.