Dozens of scenes featuring a contestant on the Croatian hit reality series Love is in the Village with the Nazi slogan “My honor is called loyalty” tattooed on his forearm were removed by RTL Croatia network. In addition to the popular Nazi slogan, it was discovered that the contestant, Jurica Živodera, wrote on his social media pages that Hitler's Mein Kampf was his favorite book.
In a statement, RTL Croatia said that it maintains a zero-tolerance policy for the glorification of Nazis and their ideology, adding that in a private conversation with Živodera, he repeatedly denied supporting Nazi ideology and supports the networks decision.
The decision to remove the scenes was welcomed by WJC Executive Director of Operations Ernest Herzog, who noted that while “there is a fine line between freedom of speech and hate speech... there are slogans, such as the text on Mr. Zivoder's tattoo, or the greetings "Sieg heil!" and "for homeland ready," which, due to their historical context and the way they are used, can automatically be identified as hate speech.
“RTL Television Croatia is owned by a mother company, which is based in Germany. Germany has zero tolerance for the glorification of the Nazi regime, which has been shown in this case as well. Unfortunately, we cannot say that this sensibility exists in the Republic of Croatia today. While in Germany, engaging in Holocaust denial can land you in prison, in Croatia the state budget has funded projects that deny, justify, or downplay Independent State of Croatia (NDH) crimes, and local authorities in Croatian cities explain that they see nothing controversial in the name of Mile Budaka Street....We really hope that reason will prevail in Croatia as soon as possible.”
On Facebook, Živodera wrote that the tattoo was a tribute to a friend who had passed away in 2008, adding, “I am not a member of any movement, ideology or the like, nor do I support them in any way. I respect all people equally and I would like to apologize to anyone who feels hurt."