Sexist tweet gets Austrian politician sacked

A sexist tweet by Austrian ÖVP politician Efgani Dönmez has caused outrage -- and gotten him dismissed from his party's parliamentary group.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Sexist tweet gets Austrian politician sacked - NewsMavens
Efgani Dönmez, Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

The ÖVP, conservative party of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, has had to dismiss an MP after he insinuated on Twitter that Sawsan Chebli, German State Secretary for Citizenship and International Affairs, got her position by performing oral sex.

His exact words were, in answer to a question about how Chebli got her job:

"Look at her knees and maybe you will find an answer ;)"

Some Twitter users were confused by the comment, but it was widely assumed that Dönmez referred to "blowjob knees," meaning that Chebli had performed sexual favors in exchange for her position.

Chancellor Kurz dismissed Dönmez on the grounds that "sexist, offensive gaffes are not acceptable". 

But Kurz can hardly pretend to be surprised, and has brought the problem unto himself, since Dönmez has long been known for his degrading comments towards women -- see the examples below.

Details from the story:

  • Austrian MP Efgani Dönmez of the ruling conservative party ÖVP has suggested in a tweet on September 1 that German State Secretary Sawsan Chebli (SPD) had made a career through sexual favors. Asked by a Twitter user how Chebli could have ever become state secretary, Dönmez answered : "Look at her knees, maybe you'll find an answer ;)" 
  • The sexist tweet caused a storm of criticism, and there were demands for his resignation. 
  • Two days later, the ÖVP politician deleted his tweet. On Monday afternoon, ÖVP party leader and Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that Dönmez would be dismissed from the ÖVP's parliamentary list.
  • Dönmez remains in the parliament as an independent MP.
  • Dönmez was repeatedly compromised during his political career. In his time as a Green politician, he first caused an internal party uproar in 2008, when he said: "The women in our party are definitely all highly committed and qualified. Having breasts is not enough for the Greens as a qualification."
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