Zurich police dismiss employee for taking part in 'Swissploitation' horror film
A side project working as a scriptwriter for the horror film has cost a 35-year-old man his job at the cantonal police department in Zurich.
The unidentified man who has worked as a civilian employee for the control department at Zurich Airport for 13 years claims he has been dismissed unfairly for his involvement in the Swiss horror film ‘Mad Heidi’.
As co-scriptwriter of the crowdfunded film, the man had taken three weeks of unpaid leave to work on the screenplay. However, when his superiors learned about the violent nature of the film, they demanded he distance himself from it and, when he did not comply, he was fired.
"I offered to use a pseudonym," the man told 20 minutes news. "That was rejected…I did not want to abandon the producer of the film project. At the same time, as a family man, I depend on my income."
According to Marc Besson, a police spokesman, the representations of violence in the film are not compatible with the values of the Zurich cantonal police, and should not be depicted by an employee with a leading position in a sensitive security area.
"Since the person concerned announced that he would do the sideline (film project) without the employer's permission, the separation took place," Besson told 20minute news.
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The film features Nazi stereotypes, gory scenes and a dystopian version of Switzerland, whereby Heidi fights against a cheese dictatorship.
The producer of the film project, Valentin Greutert, stands behind his scriptwriter.
"Will the police now turn into moral police? For me, the dismissal means freedom of expression and art is trampled on,” says Greutert.
Greutert and the dismissed man have employed a lawyer and started a crowdfunding campaign to assist in compensating the man for his financial losses.
Professor Roger Rudolph, who specialises in Labor Law at the University of Zurich, says:
“Immediate dismissal usually requires a serious breach of duty. For less serious incidents, a warning is usually issued. However, for particularly sensitive occupations, such as those in the police force, certain behaviours may appear more serious than with ordinary workers.”