BUDAPEST — Hungary’s government dismissed the director of the National Museum on Monday after it allowed under-18s to visit a World Press Photo exhibition featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) content that it is hosting despite a legal ban.
Tensions over the exhibition surfaced last month when the far-right Mi Hazank (Our Homeland) party initiated a government inquiry over the issue. It cited a 2021 law that bans the “display and promotion of homosexuality” in books and films accessible to under-18s.
The law, which Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government says aims to protect children, has come under fire from the European Union and human rights groups.
Following the government inquiry, the museum said it had no right to ask visitors for ID to determine their age but it included a message on its website calling on under-18s not to visit the exhibition.
The Minister for Culture and Innovation said in a statement on Monday that Laszlo Simon, the director of the museum, had been dismissed for failing to comply “with the legal obligations of the institution.”
Mr. Simon acknowledged his sacking in a Facebook post but denied that the museum had deliberately violated any laws. He said the museum had immediately flagged the age restriction on its website “without delay.”
The ministry of culture and the government spokesman did not reply immediately to Reuters’ e-mailed questions.
Mr. Simon — a former lawmaker in Mr. Orban’s conservative Fidesz party — had ironically thanked My Homeland in an earlier Facebook post for giving the exhibition publicity as long queues formed outside the museum over the weekend.
Earlier this year some Hungarian booksellers were fined for selling books depicting homosexuality, which were not wrapped in plastic as required by the legislation. — Reuters