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Vlaams Belang withdraws controversial candidacy for Flemish Audiovisual Fund

Controversial statements and a homophobic past kill Jef Elbers. Vlaams Belang nominated the scriptwriter as candidate for the board of directors of the VAF, but now withdraws it ‘with mixed feelings’.

Jef Elbers, a former VRT screenwriter and concert artist, is not a candidate for the board of directors of the Flemish Audiovisual Fund (VAF). That invests government money in Flemish films, TV series and games. Elbers was put forward as a candidate last week by the Vlaams Belang, but was discredited last weekend because of homophobic statements.

Elbers does not have a party card of the Vlaams Belang, but is known as outspoken Flemish nationalist. In recent years he has sometimes written opinion pieces for the Flemish-minded weekly magazine ‘t Pallieterke. In it he criticized, among other things, the Bart De Pauw case, ‘militant feminism’ and the ‘crazy transgender disease’.

Homosexuality is not normal.

In an interview with De Standaard, Elbers reiterated his views this weekend. He still believes that “homosexuality is not normal sexuality.” He called the annual gay pride ‘dirty’ and he denounced ‘promoting transgender people’.

The VAF sponsors Flemish film and television productions such as ‘Girl’, a film by director Lukas Dhont about a transgender girl.
© DCM Film Distribution (Switzerland)

Personal opinion

In ‘The Morning’ on Radio 1 party chairman Tom Van Greeks distanced himself from the statements of Elbers. “Elbers speaks from his personal title and his statements do not reflect the opinion of the party.” Nevertheless, Van Greeks, in consultation with Elbers, withdraws the candidacy. ‘It is with mixed feelings, because I find his opinion irrelevant to the judgment about his qualities, which are beyond dispute. But his personal statements are now being used to dismiss the whole party – of which he is not a member – as homophobic. ‘

A political opinion should not be decisive for a job.

Tom Van Greeks

Party chairman Vlaams Belang

Under his pseudonym Dick Durver, Elbers wrote the youth series ‘Merlina’ and ‘Postbus X’, which were popular in the 1980s. ‘He has the right skills and expertise to assess screenplays,’ says Van Greeks. Apparently the problem is his personal opinion. If that would lead to his being voted out, it smells like a professional ban. A political opinion should not be decisive to be allowed to perform a job. ‘

It is not yet clear who will be the new candidate. Van Greeks says that he will meet on the party board about this later.

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  • Siegfried Bracke in the picture as the new chairman of VAF

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