Terrifying video shows Germany’s health minister jeered, spat at and called a ‘gay pig’ by vicious anti-maskers

Gay German Health Minister Jens Spahn had led a considered effort to control the coronavirus. While it has netted him approval ratings, he has also become a target of the far-right. (Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

Germany’s gay federal health minister, Jens Spahn, was jeered, spat at and called a “gay pig” by throngs of anti-mask protesters in western Germany on Saturday (29 August).

An experienced conservative lawmaker, Spahn left a building in the city of Bergisch-Gladbach after a local campaign appearance for the centre-right Christian Democratic Union of Germany party when he was heckled.

While Germany’s handling of the coronavirus – and the precarious, seesaw-ing of lockdown easing that followed – has seen it emerge as a considered leader in the crisis, a small, often far-right faction of opponents have left officials worried.

Indeed, even as chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is enjoying high levels of trust, anti-maskers have raged. The latest public outpouring of anger saw Spahn approach the crowd, video footage showed, and attempt to speak with them.

Germany minister blasts coronavirus deniers for spitting on Jens Spahn, says it infringes constitution. 

He took off his face-covering in front of a heaving crowd of dozens, hurling homophobic insults and shouting “Disgrace!”, “Shame!” and “Go away!” at him. Some spat. Others threw obscene gestures.

The incident fuelled alarm among CDU leaders, as a campaign in Münster scheduled for Monday night (31 August) was moved to an indoor venue.

While Germany’s economy minister Peter Altmaier blasted the demonstrators. “Anyone who spits at and molests democratically elected politicians infringes the German constitution and makes an outsider of themselves,” he tweeted.

Spahn’s appearance in coronavirus briefings has meant he has become almost shorthand for the virus – and the measures to curb its spread – itself.

As much as his own approval ratings have soared, pollsters say, Spahn has become a target of hate from coronavirus deniers and sceptics. Nevertheless, Spahn told the Rheinische Post newspaper that a dialogue must be ensured between officials and coronavirus deniers.

“But it only works if both sides are willing to listen,” he said.

“When people shout, spit and insult each other, it just doesn’t work.”