Michael Wendler: Why RTL2 shouldn't offer the conspiracy influencer a stage

Michael Wendler: Why RTL2 shouldn't offer the conspiracy influencer a stage

Conspiracy ideologue back on TV

Polarized with Corona conspiracy theories: When it comes to the fans in MV, Michael Wendler should no longer be on stage at “Schlager pur – Das Megafestival” in Stralsund (here in Cologne in 2016).

From hit star to conspiracy influencer and disseminator of right-wing extremist propaganda. Now Michael Wendler and his wife should get a TV show on RTL II.

© Quelle: picture alliance / Henning Kaiser

The pop singer and conspiracy ideologist Michael Wendler should get a new show on RTL 2. The broadcaster should better shelve these plans. Because otherwise it offers a stage for the disseminators of dangerous conspiracy stories and right-wing extremist propaganda, comments Felix Huesmann.

Felix Huesmann

For more than two years, pop singer Michael Wendler spread crude and dangerous conspiracy theories, compared corona protection measures to the Holocaust and rose to become the embarrassing star of the corona denier scene. Now Wendler should come back to German television with his wife. Heal world and baby happiness on RTL 2 instead of conspiracy business on Telegram.

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The broadcaster’s decision is irresponsible. It seems as if they have persistently stuck their heads in the sand at RTL 2 over the past few years, as the media, politicians and experts debated the danger posed by conspiracy ideologies and their prominent propagators.

From Corona to climate change and the Russian war of aggression

The pop singer has been spreading conspiracy stories about the corona pandemic since autumn 2020. In October 2020, he shared videos of the former AfD politician Heinrich Fiechtner and the author and right-wing conspiracy influencer Heiko Schrang on his channel in the messenger and social media app Telegram. Wendler railed against masks, vaccinations and corona measures, denied the existence of the pandemic and spread the anti-Semitic conspiracy story of the “Great Reset”.

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In January 2021, he spoke of “KZ Deutschland” and compared the German corona measures with the crimes of the National Socialists. Wendler didn’t stop there, but gave almost every conspiracy story a reach that came before his eyes.

Wendler also persistently denies climate change, he wrote about the flood disaster in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in 2021: “‼️IT WAS A WEATHER WEAPON‼️” – capitalization and exclamation mark in the original.

Since the start of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Wendler has shared Russian war propaganda and anti-Semitic narratives on his channel, according to which Jewish investor and philanthropist George Soros was pulling the strings in Ukraine.

Far-right propaganda and shady advertising

Wendler has distributed the content of the right-wing extremist “Compact” magazine, which is monitored by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, about 60 times in the past twelve months alone. Wendler had already given the magazine an interview in 2021. He also shared content from the ringleader of the far-right Identitarian Movement, Martin Sellner, more than two dozen times.

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The pop singer earned money during all this time, among other things, with advertising for the right-wing Kopp publishing house. He advertised long-lasting wholemeal bread in cans for “crisis prevention”, vitamin drops for “‼️ STAY HEALTHY WITHOUT VACCINATION ‼️” (capitalization and exclamation mark here in the original – inclined readers should recognize a pattern). He even advertised algae powder there with the words “SHOULD BE CANCER PREVENTION” – a health promise that is not only dubious, but also forbidden.

And now Wendler should be back on television. The announcement by RTL 2 was preceded by an announcement by the pop singer and conspiracy influencer himself: on Monday he announced the imminent deletion of the same in his Telegram channel. In a press release sent by RTL 2 on Tuesday, Wendler is quoted as saying that he wants to distance himself “from some of my statements in the past”.

After all, everyone deserves a second chance, right? But Wendler’s distancing lacks substance. What does he want to distance himself from, what does he hold on to? These and many other questions would have to be answered first.

RTL2 should pull the ripcord

In addition, it is not the case that Wendler’s problematic postings were long ago. As recently as December 2022, Michael Wendler shared a telegram post by the anti-Semite Attila Hildmann, who was wanted by the German law enforcement authorities, in which Germany is referred to as the “FRG Gulag”.

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And just last month, Wendler distributed posts from a Qanon propaganda channel. Qanon is the essentially anti-Semitic conspiracy story that has already motivated several people to commit serious crimes and violent crimes, including murder, especially in the USA.

The fact that RTL 2 is still ready to prepare a big stage for Michael Wendler is not just a reason to shake your head. It is dangerous. The station is helping to normalize anti-Semitic, anti-scientific conspiracy stories and right-wing extremist propaganda. Sure, the TV screens should be about “baby happiness”, not Wendler’s problematic views. But it is precisely this appearance as a sympathetic family man that contributes to further normalizing the spread of inhuman content in society. True to the motto: If you have your own program on German television, it can’t be that bad.

RTL 2 and the production company Endemol Shine should therefore pull the rip cord as soon as possible and file their plans for a friendly, uncritical television format with Wendler.



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