Clip of ‘superhero’ Marc Van Ranst faces criticism from right-wing MPs
Thursday, 06 August 2020
Actor Kevin Janssens, who plays Marc Van Ranst in the controversial video. Credit: Belga
A clip by Belgian weekly HUMO in which actor Kevin Janssens plays an exaggerated version of virologist Marc Van Ranst faces criticism from the right, but Interfederal Equal Opportunities Centre Unia sees no criminal offences with regard to the video.
The video takes the form of a trailer for a film about superhero Marc Van Ranst. Among other things, he enforces corona measures on a barbecue of Flemish-nationalists by grabbing a big gun and shooting at those present.
The clip is inspired by an incident with Vlaams Belang MP Dries Van Langenhove, who was caught at a barbecue with friends in May when this was not allowed according to the coronavirus measures.
Van Langenhove was not amused with the clip, and others also expressed their dissatisfaction via social media. Right-wing parliamentarian Theo Francken thinks it goes “much too far”.
“By criminalising political opponents and murdering them ‘for fun’, the left is playing with fire,” Francken tweeted, adding that it’s “criminal, possibly, but certainly reprehensible.”
Unia received reports about the film, but sees it as satire or humour. “Punishable (inciting) means that there must be a malicious intent (a special intent). This is obviously not present here. In the end the public prosecutor’s office decides, but there must always be a special intent”, it says there.
The editors of HUMO were not asked to have the film removed. Vincent Loozen, responsible for video at HUMO, also remains behind it. “It’s satire and absolutely over the top. That’s the idea behind it,” he said.