To: 02/08/2022 19:01
Hate campaigns aimed at silencing them – until Doctor Kellermayr is found dead. The author Brodning speaks of “terror”. The underlying systemic problem is often not taken seriously enough.
“Targeted terror by radical vaccine opponents and right-wing extremists that wears you down” – that’s how author Ingrid Brodnig describes what Austrian doctor Dr. Kellermayr achieves hate, agitation and threats massive.
These defamation campaigns aim to silence the declared enemy, even to destroy him. Behind this is a systemic problem that is often not taken seriously enough, according to Brodnig. In the incredibly tragic case of Lisa-Marie Kellermayr, this “terror” ended fatally.
Silence the dissidents
It’s about saying: “We know where you live and if you continue, it can get worse,” explains Pia Lamberty, director general of the Center for Monitoring, Analysis and Strategy (CeMAS). The strategy of consistently attacking people is used very specifically by the lateral thinking milieu – and unfortunately shows the desired effect in many cases. Many who have been assaulted withdraw or stop expressing certain things because the situation of risk can be difficult to assess, especially for individuals, and can be very threatening.
There is a mixture of people who act purposefully, who constantly threaten those who think differently, and people who let their hatred run wild but act less strategically. Lamberty said the combination was “very disturbing”.
“I will execute you”
Austrian physician Kellermayr had been receiving massive threats for months: messages detailing how Kellermayr and his staff were to be tortured and murdered. He says, among other things, “I will execute you” or “creatures” because they will be brought before “people’s courts”.
Both online and offline, the threat level to the doctor was so high that she had to take security measures at her own expense and eventually had to close her practice. According to “puls24”, alleged patients were repeatedly taken away by the security service with butterfly knives.
Security authorities underestimated the danger
Kellermayr sought police assistance, filed charges and made threats against her in public. But their situation was apparently not taken seriously enough by the security authorities. The Upper Austrian police announced that “all legal measures have been exhausted”. Whether enough has been done to protect Kellermayr has yet to be clarified.
“If someone receives the most massive threats online, I don’t think daily patrol is very reassuring for the person concerned,” says author Brodnig. It would be a great coincidence to find an author there at this exact moment.
From the point of view of Natascha Strobl, a political scientist, the authorities have clearly failed. “She contacted the police and she contacted her professional representation. And both of them told her publicly that she shouldn’t play like that, she just wants to make herself important.”
“The fact that those affected by such threats are then also accused of facing them too much is a particularly shocking element of all this,” Brodnig sums up.
An author-victim reversal takes place here, which is unfortunately more often the case, indicates Pia Lamberty. “It’s very difficult, because it would ultimately mean that democratic voices increasingly leave public spaces because aggressive people dominate there. That can’t be the solution.” On the contrary, it should rather be a question of strengthening democratic spaces.
“When are you doing the Kellermayr?”
While thousands commemorated the doctor days after Kellermayr’s suicide, there was little empathy or insight from the lateral thinker milieu. But in the contrary.
Strobl went public about what she hated after Kellermayr’s death. In a message addressed to him, he said among other things: “You scabrous whore! when are you finally going to do the kellermayr? It wouldn’t hurt if you were also found dead one morning.
Doctors turned enemies
Since the start of the pandemic, people in the health and science sectors have been particularly affected by massive threats as well as verbal and physical attacks. The Federal Criminal Police Office now classifies “vaccination opponents or corona deniers” as a “relevant risk” in connection with attacks on vaccination centers or medical practices.
There are groups on Telegram whose sole purpose is to broadcast the names of vaccinating doctors. In this way, doctors are publicly pilloried as individuals for their medical work and branded as enemies. “And then all of a sudden there’s a shower of negative reviews on Google, or you get calls and you get insulted and belittled,” says Lamberty. Anyone campaigning for vaccinations, for example, could suddenly become a target.
Kellermayr has also proven to be a target of radical vaccine opponents and right-wing extremists. A tweet from her about vaccination opponents blocking the main entrance and emergency exit of a clinic in the Upper Austrian Alpine foothills in Wels was described by Upper Austrian police as a “ false report” – there was another entry into the hospital, he said. . Kellermayr’s tweet with the police response quickly spread in the relevant Telegram groups – a flood of insults, defamation and threats erupted at the doctor. The Upper Austrian police have not yet granted the request to delete the tweet.
Active scene beyond borders
The lateral thinking scene is active throughout the German-speaking world. Even if there are regional particularities and actors, one cannot speak of a purely German or purely Austrian phenomenon, explains Brodnig.
The boundaries of the lateral thinking scene are blurring. “We see it again and again: the authors are then based in another country or the right-wing site that exaggerates it comes from another country.” The problem is that cross-border hate speech is often an obstacle to prosecution. “There is a risk that jurisdiction will end or prosecution will simply be terminated with surprising speed. Also in the Kellermayr case, this was a legal obstacle – and in the worst case cases run out.”
It’s about destroying democracy
Although the corona measures were withdrawn and compulsory vaccination was suspended in Austria, the hatred remained. “That milieu, those people and their enemy images are still there. It was never really about Corona. It’s about destroying democracies, silencing people, threatening them,” says social psychologist Lamberty .
“I find it quite naive to believe that this has simply disappeared now – also the approach in Austria of abolishing compulsory vaccination in order to close the gaps.” By responding to vaccine opponents, you get the opposite. The community feels revalued and has the feeling of having obtained a political success. “When I watch the drop it gives me a stomach ache, because not only do I expect a mobilization to take place, but it’s usually accompanied by a heightened threat situation.”
Currently, there are neither in Germany nor in Austria enough protection concepts to be able to react appropriately to the brutalization of society. It is extremely important that politicians and security authorities recognize, understand and take seriously the strategies of the scene. Far-right ideologies must be clearly stated, one cannot speak here of “normal people” who do not want to be vaccinated. “These are actors using this topic to advance their own goals,” warns Lamberty.