Conservative Poles have begun boycotting Swedish furniture giant IKEA after its decision to withdraw advertising from a Polish TV station.
The move came after TV Republika aired pieces in which individuals opposing the European Union’s proposed Migration Pact made “controversial” remarks. A surge in the station’s viewing figures followed, which some say could be connected to a public media ‘purge’ by the newly installed Tusk Government.
Social-media users called for IKEA to pull its advertising amid allegations it was promoting “homophobia, racism and xenophobia”.
IKEA’s Polish branch thanked social media users for drawing its attention to the issue. Its advertising placement was handled by a third-party media house, it said. TV Republika had only recently been added to its “advertising package”.
“From tomorrow there will be no more advertisements on TV Republika,” it said on January 3.
Polish lender mBank, finance firm Provident, online media group Media Expert and food chain Żabka have followed suit.
In response, TV Republika’s chief Tomasz Sakiewicz announced a campaign to boycott IKEA, quickly joined by figures from other Conservative media outlets.
Some politicians from the PiS also joined the campaign against IKEA, pledging they would not buy its products. Deputy leader Antoni Macierewicz claimed the company supported the relocation of illegal migrants.
On TV Republika earlier this week, celebrity comedian Jan Pietrzak “quipped” that the EU must feel Poland is “ready for illegal immigrants as it has lots of space in the former German-Nazi concentration camps”.
On January 3, Marek Król, a former editor of “Wprost” magazine, suggested that migrants relocated to Poland “should be microchipped, just like dogs are” or, to save money, they could have “numbers tattooed on their hands so that they would be easy to find”.
TV Republika’s programme director Michał Rachoń issued a statement saying that the station “deeply disagrees with Marek Król’s statement” and opposes “the dehumanisation of people”.
The station was again mired in controversy on January 4 when PiS MP Marek Jakubiak likened relocated migrants to “unwanted waste” during an interview aired by the the station.
He said migrants would turn “Poland into a garbage dump” – and was then chastised for the remark on air by Rachoń.
All the comments in question were made during live broadcasts and were not made by any employees of TV Republika.
The station has made it clear it does not have to agree with all the views expressed by guests on its programmes.
Despite that, Polish broadcast media regulator KRRiTV is likely to impose some form of penalty on the channel.
Given the news channel TVP Info has been seized by the Tusk Government, Polish viewers have been reaching for their remote controls to look for other options – with TV Republika seeing a surge in viewing figures.