1Rico Heinzig would have had to pay 5,000 euros for advertising his honey with the name and likeness of Jan Böhmermann. The ZDF presenter had sued the beekeeper from Meißen in the Dresden district court and felt that Heinzig’s advertising had violated his personal rights. The court ruled last week: The beekeeper’s action was permissible, and even more so, it was recognizable as satire. Photos could “be allowed to be published without the consent of the person concerned if they can be assigned to the area of contemporary history and the legitimate interests of the person depicted are not violated” (ref.: EV 3 O 2529/23t).
“The verdict, of course, thrilled me in many ways,” says Rico Heinzig to the FAZ. The Saxon was unable to attend the verdict because he was on a “beekeeping tour” through South Africa. He says he didn’t expect “such a clear victory.” “Of course I was convinced of the legality of my actions, but press and media law is not always 100 percent clear.” For him, the verdict was “a special satisfaction and confirmation of our position.” Through the process, he was able to draw attention, among other things, to the fact that “honey bees are very much under threat.”
Accusation of “beewashing”
In November 2023, Böhmermann dedicated an episode of “ZDF Magazin Royale” to beekeepers, including Heinzig, who rented honey bee colonies to companies and marketed this as a sustainability measure. He accused them of “beewashing”. In response to the allegations, Heinzig released a honey called “Beewashing Honey,” which he marketed with, among other things, a picture of Böhmermann alongside the slogan “Leading bee and beetle expert recommends.”
In mid-January, an amicable settlement before the court failed. Heinzig initially refused to stop marketing its honey, but shortly afterwards took it off the market and replaced it with honey with a “Cancel Culture” label. This honey will remain the same: “I definitely want to prevent Mr. Böhmermann from being able to claim royalties from sales at some point in the event of a victory,” he said.
The verdict is not yet legally binding. The parties have four weeks to file an appeal with the Higher Regional Court. According to media reports, Böhmermann is allegedly planning to do this.
This news article has been translated from the original language to English by WorldsNewsNow.com.
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