Vox posts Twitter message making veiled threat against publisher of satirical magazine ‘El Jueves’

The publication had featured a series of caricatures of the far-right group’s leaders, including co-founder and former ETA hostage José Antonio Ortega Lara

Vox general secretary Javier Ortega Smith.
Vox general secretary Javier Ortega Smith.Chema Moya (EFE)

Spain’s far-right Vox group has publicly made a veiled threat against Ricardo Rodrigo Amar, the chairman of publishing group RBA. A Twitter message from the party’s official account was directed at the businessman, whose company produces the satirical magazine El Jueves, after the publication featured a series of caricatures of members of the Vox leadership. The message featured Amar’s name and his position, and accused him of spreading “hate against millions of Spaniards,” adding that Vox understood that “it’s possible” that many of those citizens would demand “responsibilities” from him should they see him leaving his office in Barcelona.

The controversial message was posted in response to a tweet from El Jueves drawing attention to their series of cartoons, which were drawn in the style of the Garbage Pail Kids sticker set that was popular in the 1980s.

One of the cartoons featured Vox co-founder José Antonio Ortega Lara, a former prison officer who was kidnapped and held in an underground bunker by now-defunct Basque terrorist group ETA for more than 500 days until his rescue by the authorities. In the cartoon, Ortega Lara is depicted on a sun lounger, covered in blisters, with the following message: “Lara with his face in the sun. Poor Ortega has his body full of burns, it’s not healthy to have your face in the sun after so much time in the dark.” The reference to “face in the sun” is a play on words referring to Cara al Sol, the anthem of the Spanish fascist party Falange.

Raúl Salazar, one of the authors of the cartoons, gave thanks to the far-right party for its attack. “I’m very happy that my work (together with Juanjo [Cuerda]) is pissing off these blubbing fascists so much,” he wrote via Twitter.

“This is not the first time that we’ve received threats for publishing El Jueves, nor the first of this kind from Vox,” a spokesperson from RBA stated. The publisher, which includes National Geographic among its featured titles, has ruled out taking any measures for now. “We have never responded to anything,” the spokesperson added. Other sources from the group, however, admitted that a personal attack aimed at Ricardo Rodrigo is more concerning due to its tone.

Vox has denied that its intention was to put the spotlight on the RBA chairman, but did state that this magazine and other media outlets regularly identify members of its group who are later attacked or assaulted. They cited an incident on Monday, when comments made on social media – by figures such as co-founder of leftist Podemos party Juan Carlos Monedero – blamed Vox and its rhetoric for the alleged homophobic attack in Galicia on Saturday that left a 24-year-old gay man, Samuel Luiz, dead.

 Cartoon of Vox co-founder José Antonio Ortega Lara in ‘El Jueves.’
Cartoon of Vox co-founder José Antonio Ortega Lara in ‘El Jueves.’

Jorge Buxadé, the vice-president of Acción Política de Vox, and delegation chief in the European Parliament, announced on Monday possible legal action against anyone who claims that Vox is responsible for this kind of violent incident. “This morning we have reported that miserable left-wing that wanted to take advantage of the death of a Galician lad,” he said. “Children, women, homosexuals, they don’t care. They just want to subdue us.”

Monedero, meanwhile, waded further into the controversy on Tuesday. “In France, the people who do this kind of thing are jihadists. Public prosecutor?” he wrote via Twitter, in reference to the 2015 attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo over its publication of cartoons of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The spokesperson in the Congress of Deputies for the Unidas Podemos party, Pablo Echenique, posted a similar message. “Vox is highlighting El Jueves as the jihadists do with Charlie Hebdo but nothing happens here as a result. No #JeSuisElJueves nor a brief mention in the main media outlets. If Podemos were to do something like this we would see it on the news bulletins for six months, they would outlaw us and stick us all in jail.”

English version by Simon Hunter.

More information

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS