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Ed Wight's Column

Ed Wight

Ed has been living in Poland for over ten years. As CEN correspondent he has written for the UK's leading tabloids including The Sun, The Daily Mail, and The News of the World, and for magazines such as Closer, Chat and Reveal. He is a member of the National Association of Press Agencies and the Chartered Institute of Journalists.


Previous Columns

Defending the News of the World and press freedom
2011-07-08

Abort this plan
2011-07-02

A tortured goodbye
2011-05-06

One year on
2011-04-15

Sending in the boys
2011-03-26

Kuba Wojewodzki - No shame
2011-03-19

Etude in F*@K minor
2011-02-25

What a joke!
2011-02-19

Hoolio 2012
2011-02-11

Injustice being served
2011-02-04

Cause and effect
2011-01-21

It ain't over yet
2011-01-14

Where is Ewelina?
2010-12-10

PiS off
2010-11-26

How YOU doing?
2010-11-20

From completely mong to classic ding dong
2010-11-12

Political bully boys
2010-11-05

Muscle flexing
2010-10-30

The blame game
2010-10-24

A long and deadly road
2010-10-16

A murder most...strange
2010-10-14

A tough choice to make
2010-10-05

Stuck between a rock and a hard place
2010-09-24

A ban on free speech? Whatever.
2010-09-10

Getting cross
2010-08-13

A cross to bear
2010-08-06

Courting the enemy
2010-08-01

Witch Hunt
2010-07-25

Kacz is back - and rowdy as ever
2010-07-17

So what now?
2010-07-10

Kuba Wojewodzki - No shame

Saturday 19th March, 2011

“Why are you in Poland? I married a white woman and then ate her."
Former punk rocker-turned-TV presenter Kuba Wojewodzki, Oxford-educated FM Radek Sikorski and PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski don’t really have much in common.

Except for this: they all seem to find jokes about blacks being cannibals funny.

On last Saturday’s TVN version of X-Factor, Wojewodzki’s fellow juror Cieslaw Mozil was asked to speak to Nigerian contestant John James Egwu in English to compensate for the former business student’s lack of Polish. Wojewodzki was to then translate his answers into Polish.

Instead he decided to supplement the answers with cannibal references.

“Why are you in Poland?” asked Cieslaw “I married a white woman and then ate her,” 48-year-old Wojewodzki translated Mr Egwu’s reply of “I studied here.”

“What did you study?” Cieslaw asked. The answer to that was translated as: “She tasted gristly.”

Wojewodzki then turned to face the laughing audience, stuck his thumbs in the air and encouraged them to laugh more.

Meanwhile, Mr Egwu stood on stage smiling - oblivious to the fact that he was being made fun of. An embarrassed Cieslaw eventually said: “This is Kuba’s way of welcoming you to Poland.”

Watch it here

Now rewind two years to Barak Obama becoming US president. Then FM Sikorski was said to have quipped: “Have you heard that Obama may have a Polish connection? His grandfather ate a Polish missionary.”

It later emerged that another MP had first heard the same joke from Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

Following the furore surrounding both, the government promised to launch an investigation. We are still waiting to hear the result.

Meanwhile, TVN has said absolutely nothing about Wojewodzki’s comments. And nor has he or his manager.

Enter NPE: Wojewodzki - get off our screens. And TVN - shame on you.

Readers Comments

Watch out. President Obama is coming to Poland. Prepare for Wojewodzki to translate (in his appalling English) that Michelle didn't come with him because he's eaten her or because, what with Obama being a Muslim and everything, Michelle is at home covering her face so we can't see her in Poland. Wojewodzki is an idiot - but that's what he gets paid for. What is surprising is that there is clearly no appetite amongst the bosses at TVN to address this. Very saddening.

Sean Davis - Sopot
22nd March, 2011 - 9:56 am

Allowing racists to get away with this kind of appalling behaviour paints a poor picture of Poland and Polish society as not worthy of sitting alongside cultured civilised countries.

Perhaps Sikorski and Kaczynski have forgotten what another supremacist ideology did to Poland just over 70 years ago. Being a half wit, I wouldn't expect Wojewodzki to know anything, other than a smattering of barely intelligible English.

Sikorski and Kaczynski are unworthy of public office. Wojewodzki is a talent less knuckle dragger. TVN's lack of standards they should be truly ashamed of but clearly are not.

Well done to NPE for showing the ugly side of Polish "culture".

Leszek K - Lodz
22nd March, 2011 - 10:25 am

Thank ou for writing this editorial. it certainly merited the attention you have given it as TVN's and the public's general silence about the issue is testimony to what is deemed as acceptable racism amongst many Poles. I used your piece in many of my English classes this week, and though 95% of my students laughed at his comments, with a little discussion it was clearly apparent they see KW as a joke himself. They are all wel aware he frequently stoops to the lowest denominator to draw attention to himself. Here is the comment I left on Wojewodzki's Facebook wall. Needless to say it was immediately deleted, despite my constant attempts to keep it up there.

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=4221334&id=705877242&subject=121986454504912&ref=mf#!/photo.php?fbid=10150127232992243&set=a.497733872242.274908.705877242&theater

Damien Moran - Ireland
25th March, 2011 - 10:24 pm

Excellent efforts by NPE to address the racism that is highlighted in this article. I would suggest writing to those firms advertising on the TVN channel informing them that you will be boycotting their products whilst TVN continues to give free rein to racists on its programming. Its the only language these poeople respond to. That which hits them in their pockets. Once more keep up the great work NPE and lets have these racists made accountable.

Marek Wisniewski - Glogow
28th March, 2011 - 11:13 am

Dear Ed,

I have only just read the editorial from a couple of weeks ago.

Had to check out for myself the 'X Factor' clip mentioned just to believe it. The linked clip has been removed, but a quick search can uncover it. I was aghast at what I saw, despite knowing what was coming up. Hard to believe Wojewodzki's moronic, bigotted comments in such a public forum. A few weeks back you will remember two British SKY football reporters losing their jobs over sexist comments about a lineswoman (one sacked, one did the decent thing). They did not know what they were saying was being transmitted live. Wojewodzki made his comments presumably in the full knowledge they were going to be heard by millions. The lack of apology from Wojewodzki and sanctioning of him by his TVN bosses is depressing.

I'd recommend also carrying on watching the clip to the point where they are about to vote. The female member of the jury, with no trace of irony, says: 'I want to say one thing. It's fantastic that a person with a different colour skin comes out (onto the stage) and the public goes crazy. It really pleases me that Poland is changing." Sadly not, if you have to mention skin colour - and doubly so if a 'leading' tv personality can come out with such insulting 'witticisms' about cannibalism. Well done to the 2 people who commented on YouTube about Wojewodzki's comments being unacceptable.

Wojewodzki appeared a while back (may have been on 'Mam Talent'?) sporting a t-shirt emblazoned clearly with the 'F' word throughout the show. Very edgy, I'm sure, and a great example to (my) young children who actually quite like watching these shows (early signs of masochism!). Nearly as tasteful and stylish as Doda being lowered onto the stage on New Year's Eve belting out some song in English in which the ever-so-festive and fun 'F' word was again very much in evidence. Maybe I am being sensitive about the English language, but I do rather resent it being hijacked in this way. I wonder how long I would last strolling down Krakowskie Przedmiejscie at the weekend sporting a t-shirt with a few choice Polish phrases?

All in all, sad that good taste is sacrificed by some who wish, I presume, to appear 'cool'. Not that it is my job, apologies to Mr Egwu and all other victims of insensitivity and intolerance. However, at the end of the day this says far more about the perpetrators. Perhaps Wojewodzki has a knack for the smart Alec comments - I'm just wondering how comfortable he would feel being made to feel stupid, and racially insulted, in front of millions of people in a language he doesn't understand?

Jeremy, Warsaw

Jeremy - warsaw
30th March, 2011 - 9:51 am


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