Swiss yodeller cleared of racism over 'black face' performance

The Local Switzerland
The Local Switzerland - [email protected] • 23 Jan, 2023 Updated Mon 23 Jan 2023 16:24 CEST
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A typical Swiss yodel group. Photo by VALERIANO DI DOMENICO / AFP

A court ruled that a yodeller in the Swiss canton of Appenzell who performed in a black wig and painted black face is not racist.

A video of a black-faced yodeller with a drum and a raffia skirt sparked outrage when it first appeared on social media in November 2022.  
 
The yodeller in question, Markus Nef, who performed with his choir during a local carnival, denied his costume had racial undertones and said he never even heard the term "blackfacing."
 
However, the Federal Commission against Racism called the performance "clearly tasteless and racist," urging judicial authorities in the canton to investigate the incident.

The public prosecutor in Appenzell -Ausserrhoden subsequently opened criminal proceedings against Nef.

The court decided, however, that such a performance during a carnival did not quality as racism, especially as Nef didn’t make  disparaging comments about Africans.

Controversial carnival costumers have often led to accusations of racism against those taking part.

In March 2019 a video emerged of a group of around a dozen hooded figures dressed as Klu Klax Klan members carried burning torches along a street during a carnival in Brunnen, canton Schwyz.

READ MORE: Swiss police to investigate KKK carnival costumes
 

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