Defamation case brought by judge in NatWest’s LGBT awards thrown out by Polish court

Bart Staszewski, an LGBT activist, holds up a sign he used to protest anti-LGBT laws, in Warsaw, Poland, Jan. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/ Przemysław Stefaniak)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

Bart Staszewski, a prominent LGBT activist and judge in NatWest Poland’s LGBT+ Diamond Awards, has lost his defamation lawsuit against a patriotic youth activist who called him “trash.”

Staszewski initiated legal proceedings against the activist who insulted him for opposing Polish Independence Day celebrations. The youth activist, Mateusz Marzoch, who is a board member of the Independence March Association, was cleared by a Polish court after detailing Staszewski’s past behavior to justify his view.

Staszewski is a prominent anti-government campaigner who was responsible for inaccurately claiming there are “LGBT-free zones” in Poland. This claim can be found in a raft of media stories about LGBT issues in Poland and has even found its way into the European Commission’s rule of law reports on Poland.

The only evidence for the existence of these “LGBT-free zones” was produced by Staszewski photographing himself in front of a sign that read “LGBT-free zone.” Staszewski later admitted he had erected the sign himself as a stunt.

Bart Staszewski was recently one of the judges for the latest edition of the NatWest LGBT+ annual “Diamond Awards” held at the beginning of July. The British NatWest banking group has been at the forefront of promoting the LGBT+ lobby in Poland as the awards’ official sponsor.

NatWest Group made international headlines recently after its prestigious subsidiary, Coutts Bank, was exposed for closing the bank account of conservative politician Nigel Farage because of his political views. At the center of the dispute was a dossier that outlined how Farage’s values “did not align” with those of NatWest, which was used to close down his account.  

The LGBT+ award show and Pride marches have attracted the participation of senior diplomats, such as the U.S. and British ambassadors. The ruling party in Poland regards such participation as interference in internal Polish politics and a Western attempt to influence Polish culture.

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