Austrian Airlines Fires Flight Attendant Caught on Video Chanting Antisemitic Slogans
Austrian Airlines announced on Thursday that it had fired one of its flight attendants after video footage emerged of her chanting antisemitic slogans at a far-right demonstration in Vienna.
The national carrier, which is owned by Germany’s Lufthansa airline, confirmed in a statement that Christina Kohl was no longer its employee.
Kohl — a political activist who is standing for election to Vienna’s municipal council — was filmed chanting slogans at a demonstration that attacked the familiar targets of the far right, including the Rothschild banking family, the financier George Soros and the “Illuminati,” a purported cabal that right-wing conspiracy theorists insist controls the world.
Kohl is standing for election on the ticket of “Team HC Strache,” a far-right grouping launched by the former Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache.
A video showed her at a protest in the Austrian capital chanting “Soros must go,” “Rothschild must go,” “Rockefeller must go” and “Illuminati must go,” among other slogans.
Geifernder Antisemitismus bei der #Strache Kandidatin und Covidiotin Christina Kohl: "Soros muß weg, Rothschild muß weg, Rockefeller muß weg, Illuminati müssen weg…" m( #Wienwahl #THC #hcstrache #covid19at pic.twitter.com/yNkSPydwtL
— Dietmar Muhlbock (@deltamikeplus) August 11, 2020
In its statement announcing that it had terminated Kohl’s employment, Austrian Airlines underlined that its decision was not linked to her support for Strache — one of the country’s most controversial politicians who was forced to resign from as vice chancellor in 2017 on corruption charges. Strache is also a political ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“An employee of Austrian Airlines made public antisemitic statements as part of her political commitment,” a spokesperson for Austrian Airlines told the Kurier news outlet. “We are an international company that crosses borders in the context of its business purpose. Here, however, we have to draw a very clear line. ”
The spokesperson noted that Kohl’s behavior was “inexcusable, and statements of this kind are in no way compatible with our company values.”
“We have therefore taken appropriate measures to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” the spokesperson added.
A representative of Strache’s campaign countered on Kohl’s behalf, saying that her “critical” views on subjects ranging from coronavirus measures to “big capitalism” did not make her a “corona-denier or an antisemite.”
Kohl was rather a “flawless democrat who exercises her right to freedom of expression and political commitment,” said Christian Höbart, the campaign’s general-secretary.