Böhmermann explaining #verafake. (Photo: ZDF/Neo Magazine Royale) 

Böhmermann let the goats out #verafake

Jan Böhmermann, the comedian who started a worldwide shitstorm about a poem, has returned from a four week "chillaxing" break. The hashtag of tonight's show was #verafake - how he apparently infiltrated one of Germany's trashiest TV shows "Schwiegertochter gesucht" - "wanted: daughter-in-law" (Vera Int-Veen is the host of the show). Gregor Gysi, long-time leader of the party The Left (Die Linke), was the guest of the 45th episode of Neo Magazin Royale. 

by the Know Nothing Enquirer    12/05/2016

UPDATE 13/05/2016: #verafake is real. RTL just published a press release stating that they completely fell for Böhmermann's "likeable son-in-law". According to the statement, the producers of the show "fell in love" with the character and disregarded their editorial duties. 

Unsurprisingly, Böhmermann himself did not comment directly on the Erdogan "affair", even though he did make some hints. The recital of the poem by a German MP in the Bundestag did prompt him to tweet about the issue early this day though. And Gysi commented on the poem at great length, calling it bad taste but definitely covered by the German constitution. He also used the show to criticise Angela Merkel for announcing that the lèse-majesté law would be scrapped but that it would be still applied in the Erdogan case. Böhmermann only commented that he has made bad experiences with jokes and that they often violate human dignity. Therefore, he continues, he will refrain from making any Hitler jokes as he would not want to violate his "peace in death" (Totenruhe). 


The apparent actors on "Schwiegertochter Gesucht" (Photo: ZDF/Neo Magazin Royale)

He let Gysi make all the political comments, while he focused on the #verafake story. Böhermann claims (he has famously already faked Varoufakis showing Germany the middle finger, which turned out to be real) that he infiltrated the RTL show with two actors. According to his investigative satire, the apparent dad and son, who had applied to be on the show, were offered 150€ for the 10 day shoot, despite them being presented as alcoholics, not being able to show any form of ID and not receiving a copy of the signed documents before the show was aired. This did not seem to stop Vera Int-Veen from broadcasting it on TV and further raises the question whether this is a common practice. 

Even if this story turns out to be fake (as was the case with #varoufake), it raises awareness of how unscrupulous the media industry works. Further, Böhmermann's one month absence from TV and him mostly refraining from commenting on the case - despite Germany, media all over the world and the entire internet going crazy about it - is a huge critique of mainstream media in itself (and obviously also of the autocrat Erdogan). After all that is exactly the reason why he received the Grimme-Preis, one of the most prestigious German television awards, for his satirical #varoufake story.