"Soest is and remains a tranquil town. Its established citizens have a hard time with people who fall out of the traditional and anchored role models. [...] Successful, lesbian, feminist women fall out of these role models and sometimes cause alienation," wrote one councillor to us.
The mayor, other councillors and the local press did a lot to chase me out of my office and us out of their urban society. When I defended ourselves and spoke publicly of misogyny and homophobia, no one stood by our side, on the contrary, the mayor was publicly indignant: Outrageous!“ A classic perpetrator-victim reversal took place. This is the story in a nutshell:
The mayor systematically and purposefully spread false and defamatory statements targeted at removing me, the CEO of the municipal economic development agency and a woman living openly as a lesbian, from office - despite my proven outstanding accomplishments. His slanders were designed to misogynistically and homophobically stereotype me as “butch” and “dyke”, as non-bourgeois and aggressive.
When my imminent non-re-election was leaked to the local press thus prompting me to assume that the press also had comprehensive and indepth knowledge of the mayor´s slander, which I knew by then only in fragments distilled from the manifold rumours, I published a differentiated interview I had given a local journalist.
In this interview I stated, inter alia, my conviction that my non-reelection to the office of CEO was fuelled in no small part by misogyny and homophobia.
Thereupon the city council terminated my contract with immediate effect deeming the aforementioned statement a false, malevolent and defamatory allegation of fact.
Throughout my tenure, the local press violated journalistic principles. Thereby was a close connection to (Supervisory) council menbers, especially to the entourage of the mayor. Thus, press campaigns directed against me were not stopped or even get started from there, internal matters were pierced to the press in violation of the obligation of confidentiality, moreover with a false spin directed against me and my non-re-election was pierced to the press in violation of the obligation of confidentiality, the duty of loyalty and care and my personell data protection. The day after my incriminated interview, the Soester Anzeiger adopted the narratives of the mayor and his entourage – knowing full well that these narratives were wrong – and remains silent to this day about the planned and targeted lies of the non-re-election campaign.
The Arnsberg Regional Court dismissed the action against the termination of my contract, but it did so without even mentioning in its opinion the defamation directed at me and the further breaches of duty by the mayor and/or other (supervision board) council members. The court did not take into consideration and evaluate that only the defamation and the information leaked to the press by (supervision board ) council members in the days, weeks and months prior to the election date placed me in a situation of distress and emergency, in which I believed that I could no longer defend myself other than by going public myself. By not mentioning and taking into consideration the defamations directed at me during the non-re-election campaign and their repetition and augmentation in court, the Regional Court protected the members of the supervisory board and - above all - the mayor from legal and political consequences regarding their defamation campaign. I am thus convinced that not only was the court´s opinion based on an inaccurate and deficient evaluation of legally relevant circumstances, but on the perversion of justice. I have therefore filed a criminal complaint against the presiding judge of the competent chamber for Commercial Matters of Arnsberg Regional Court.
I have filed a criminal complaint against the mayor (CDU), the chair-woman (Green Party) and the members of the Supervisory Board for libel and (attempted) collusion.
The prosecution already closed the criminal proceedings pursuant to my criminal complaint two times. The first time the prosecution argued that the criminal complaint is barred by limitation although it was obvious on first sight that the prosecution had deliberately miscalculated the limitation period. In a phone call with the prosecutor´s office my attorney was made aware that usually the applicable limitation periods are calculated by the procsecutor´s office, whereas in my case the senior prosecutor had seized calculation for himself – in order to strike down my criminal complaint based on the alleged expiry of an obviously miscalculated limitation period.
Upon re-opening of the criminal proceedings the senior prosecutor admitted that we had filed the criminal complaint correctly in time, but held that the libelous statements that lead to my non-re-election happened too long ago to qualify for opening a criminal proceeding without giving any reasoning as to why he deemed the limitation period of criminal proceedings expired.
He moreover gave a further reason for striking down my criminal complaint a second time:
The statements for which I had filed the criminal complaint were not factual statements but deliberate exaggerations as permitted in court proceedings, as well as subjective assessments of my accomplishments. However, I had focused my criminal complaint solely on factual statements. The mayor claimed, inter alia, that I had approached the Russian embassy without prior consultation thus deeming me unfit for cooperation. There is in fact email communication proving that I had approached the Russian embassy against my declared will on the mayor´s specific and express instruction. His claim that I had approached the Russian embassy without prior consultation is thus neither an exaggeration or an unnecessarily sharp wording for that matter, nor is it a subjective assessment of my accomplishments, but it is a false factual and libelous claim.
On Novemer 16, 2021 I have lodged a complaint with the Prosecutor General against this new closing of the criminal proceedings. In October 2021 my attorney filed for the inspection of files only granted to her upon reminder.
In a telephone call the competent senior prosecutor at the Prosecutor General´s office told my attorney that he in fact had not yet processed my complaint and that he hoped to be able to process it before year end. My complaint will prospectively not be processed for two further months before – in the best case scenario- it will be referred back to the prosecutor´s office in Arnsberg. The prosecution has also not yet taken any measures to interrupt the limitation period for criminal proceedings.
The Prosecutor General is subordinate to the state ministery of Justice and thus to the state government of North-Rhine-Westfalia. Eventually I wrote to the ministry of justice in NRW: I find it somewhat hard to believe that the proceedings are not deliberately delayed for the limitation period for proceedings as to libel regarding the non-re-election campaign to expire.
The NRW-government is formed by a coalition of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Green Party. In its government policy state-ment the state government of NRW has firmly declared:
"We consistently oppose discrimination and violence against queer people and show zero tolerance for all forms of group-specific misanthropy.“
Netflix Doku "Harry and Meghan": The working mechanisms of the story of the Duke and the Duchess of Sussex and our story are strikingly similar
I was the CEO of the municipal economic development agency in Soest (a small town of 50.000 inhabitants in Germany). I was outstandingly successful. In just under 4 years, I have increased the company's turnover from a good € 2 million to € 15.6 million per year while I reduced the number of employees from 25 to 22. I have developed three areas: a barracks that has been lying fallow for 30 years, a new greenfield commercial and industrial area and an industrial brownfield. Two of these projects I implemented completely, while driving the third far forward. I redesigned the management of the Guildhall in the sense of change management. I developed and established two new major annual inner-city events and significantly enlarged the Christmas market, which is very important for retail and gastronomy. Furthermore, I developed and established a regional food brand. In addition, there was the day-to-day business of economic development, city marketing, monthly inner-city events, the management of the Guildhall and the administration and leasing of the station building.
I am living openly as a lesbian. My partner for 17 years is a lawyer. She has the 2nd best graduation of her year in Bavaria, where the exams are the toughest in Germany. She holds a British MBA and is trained as a mediator. She has negotiated multi-100-million dollar-M&A-deals and has worked internationally. She is German without a migrant background. But she has a foreign surname due to her paternal grandfather coming from Kazan, the third biggest city of the Russian Federation and capital of the now Republic of Tatarstan. Tatars are a muslim Turkic people, and unfortunately, this is important to mention for the further understanding of our story. Claudia's grandfather had been a teenage soldier in the Russian army in WWI, was captured by the Germans and stayed in Germany after having been released from war prison in 1918, as he could not return to his homeland after the Russian Revolution and the founding of the Soviet Union. He stayed in Germany, married a German woman, gave their children German names, raised them as catholics and provided for a good education for all of them. So his assimilation was very successful and happened more than 100 years ago. My partner was born into the middle of German society. Both of her parents were German. She never even met her grandfather, since he had died before she was born. The only thing left of her grandfather's immigration history is her Tatar surname.
Despite my proven outstanding accomplishments the mayor systematically and purposefully spread false and defamatory statements targeted at removing me from office. His slanders were designed to misogynistically and homophobically stereotype me as “butch” and “dyke”, as non-bourgeois and aggressive.
When my imminent non-re-election was leaked to the local press thus prompting me to assume that the press also had comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of the mayor´s slander, which I knew by then only in fragments distilled from the manifold rumours that had come to my knowledge, I published a differentiated interview I had given a local journalist.
In this interview I stated, inter alia, my conviction that my non-re-election to the office of CEO was fuelled in no small part by misogyny and homophobia.
Thereupon the city council terminated my contract with immediate effect deeming the aforementioned statement a false, malevolent and defamatory allegation of fact.
Here is the reasoning for why I am convinced that our story and the story of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are similar:
- The Duke and the Duchess of Sussex describe in their Netflix documentary that the Royal Family and the press could not stand a successful, bi-racial and feminist woman.
When we described to a Council member of Soest in December 2019 how distressing the Council's dealings with us were, this Council member analysed our account as follows: "Soest is and remains a tranquil town. Its established citizens have a hard time with people who fall out of the traditional and anchored role models. [...] Successful, lesbian, feminist women fall out of these role models and sometimes cause alienation," wrote the councillor to us.
This is an analysis almost word-for-word similar to the assessment of the situation of the Duchess of Sussex. Only the types of group-related contempt for humanity were different in our case: it was not intersectional discrimination from misogyny and racism, but from misogyny and homophobia. What was not mentioned in the letter of the council member, but was soon added was "racism", so in Soest it was about intersectional discrimination from misogyny, homophobia and (indirect) racism.
- In the UK, the palace and the press colluded. The offices of members of the Royal Family have deliberately leaked stories to the press and even testified in court without being asked, against the Duchess.
Throughout my tenure, the local press violated journalistic principles. They had a close, even intimate connection to the supervisory board of my company, the town council and especially to the entourage of the mayor. Thus, press campaigns directed against me were not stopped or even get started from there, confidential internal matters discussed in meetings of the supervisory board were leaked to the press in violation of the board memebers´obligation of confidentiality, moreover with a false spin directed against me and my non-re-election was leaked to the press in violation of the obligation of confidentiality, the duty of loyalty and care and my personell data protection. The day after publication of my interview, the local newspaper adopted the narratives of the mayor and his entourage – knowing full well that these narratives were wrong – and remains silent to this day about the planned and targeted lies of the non-re-election campaign.
- The pictures drawn by the Duchess and myself and my partner are similar.
The Duchess is characterized as pushy, difficult and straight outta Compton, I as bold, with an inappropriate tone, with a foreign partner who had a too Slavic face [Association in Nazi Germany: "Untermensch" (sub-human), wrong in the matter: neither the facial features, nor the surname are Slavic, but Turk], nor is she a foreigner. So, just like you, we were portrayed as aggressive, proletarian, not bourgeois, inferior.
The Duchess and I were accused of treating our staff badly. In both cases, we were denied the specification of the alleged bad treatment, allegedly to protect the employees, but we were also deprived of the chance to expose the allegations as slander.
The Duchess is portrayed as immodest and narcissistic, as a person who always wants to be in the center of attention and spotlight and I was also repeatedly told to be more modest: My academic titles would not count in Soest, my achievements were not outstanding, but only proper, were only windfall profits of a good market situation, so no reason to take pride in them.
All this exposes deeply misogynistic role models: women are not supposed to be ambitious, combative, and successful or showing strong negotiating skills but “nice” and modest. What is admired in men as assertiveness, is considered aggressiveness in women.
- In the UK, there was one culprit in particular: the Duchess. The Duchess was portrayed as the one who manipulated the Duke and the Duke as the one who was so addicted to his wife that he were blind to this manipulation.
In Soest, council members portrayed my partner as the “man” in our relationship and combined this with the "fear" that she was the secret CEO of my company thus alleging that I let myself be manipulated by her.
The Duke and I were suggested: You are actually one of us, the good guys. Wake up, realize how you are being manipulated, turn away from your respective partners, then there is a way back into this society for you.
- The Duke says that despite his many experiences in the Commenwealth, he only understood how everyday racism works alongside his wife. That's what happened to me at my partner's side. Until then, I had believed that racism did not play a major role in Germany. But unfortunately, that's not true, it's an everyday experience and it is all over the place.
When I cross the EU-boarder with my partner, I am not checked by border control, but my partner`s passport is scanned and then its number is entered into a computer, her suitcase is searched – every time.
When she is invited to an interview, she is told that because of her outstanding academic credentials and interesting CV they wanted to treat themselves to getting to know her, but they could not hire her because their clients would not accept a lawyer with such a surname she could not become a partner. In a recent employment certificate, it is even declared that her German language skills are excellent –which is an absurd wording in the employment certificate of a German without a migrant background.
Only a few months ago at a doctor's office, she was even asked by the doctor's assistant – to whom she had shown her German passport for registration- how she got a German first name – answer: because her parents are German.
In the Soest city council, it was apparently discussed on a broad front whether the face of my partner is too Slavic – too Slavic for what? To become a member of the so-called Soest city society? The council members did not even ask where the name and facial features came from, since – as you know – she has no Slavic background. And for Germans, it is also easy to recognize that the surname of my partner has no Slavic origin. But nevertheless, they imputed my partner of having a Slavic background and – by doing so- chose an adjective (Slavic) that is– due to German history- badly associated with the expression „Untermensch“ (Nazi terminology with the meaning „subhuman“) and thus triggers a whole chain of associations of inferiority.
When we described the racism in court, the supervisory board was outraged and claimed their members were not "xenophobic". But my partner is a German citizen without a migration background. So the council members did not have to be "foreigner-friendly". But my partner's surname was apparently enough for the council members to mark her as a foreigner. We had accused them of racism, not xenophobia, and by choosing the term xenophobia they proved that we were right.
- The Duke describes how - in the beginning – he was thinking in the eyes of the institution. Showing up at an event and being on time was more important than his wife's well-being. He stated in their documentary that he hates himself for this today.
The Duke and the Duchess also held that their consultants in the UK also downplayed the situation. The Duchess says in the documentary: „This promise of ‘once you’re married, don’t worry, it’ll get better, once they get used to you it’ll get better, of course it’ll get better.“
That's exactly how I feel. I have always demanded of my partner not to defend herself against the discrimination in Soest, to give up her agency and to grin and bear it. I put her off by saying that the people in Soest would get used to us and our relationship, we just had to be patient.
And I also protected neither her nor myself, I smiled away every attack. I loved my job so much that I didn't want to see how depressed and even suicidal my partner became in Soest.
But neither in Soest nor in your case, things improved over time. The Duchess states in the documentary: „But truth be told, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how good I was, no matter what I did, they were still going to find a way to destroy me.“
In the story of the Duchess the mood changed when the couple made an acclaimed trip to Australia. The Duke says in the documentary: “The issue is when someone who's marrying in, who should be a supporting, a supporting act, is then stealing the limelight, or is doing the job better than the person who is born to do this. That upsets people. It shifts the balance.”
One Twitter user sums it up like this: " The evidence confirms that M and H did all they could to make it work with the royal family but nothing was ever enough. They expected the worst of M and when they realized she was the best of all of them they hated her even more."
It was the same with me: no matter how friendly and affectionate I was, no matter how much I smiled away the attacks, no matter how much motivation and dedication for my job I showed (I worked 7 days a week from getting up to going to bed with almost no vacation), no matter how successful I was, the Soest city society demonstrated that we had no place in Soest.
It was even the other way around: the more visible my outstanding successes became, the more the mayor and his entourage tried to find - but to no avail- incriminating evidence against me. This infuriated them even more.
Thus the narrative of the “aggressive woman” gained considerable traction after one of the great moments of my term of office: When an investor refused to pay a purchase price in order to obtain concessions worth millions and the mayor and his entourage wanted to give in, I remained unimpressed by the blackmail of the investor, left him on the sidelines and enforced the payment of the purchase price against his will, they had to mask their weakness and downplay my strength. They therefore spread the narrative of the “aggressive woman”. And when the re-election date approached and still no reason for me not being re-elected had been found, additional supervisory board meetings were convened, in which I was -literally- beaten up verbally without cause and false and defamatory statements were spread.
- A person or institution accused of discrimination has suffered far more than a person who has been the victim of discrimination.
In the UK and worldwide, the press is relatively unanimous in their opinion that the Duke and the Duchess are traitors who publicly wash dirty laundry and endanger the existence of the royal family: outrageous. "Outrageous" and "unprecedented", the mayor stated indignantly in the local press after my incriminated interview.
In the UK, however, it was the royal family and allegedly the press office of the now Prince of Wales that instrumentalized the press to get rid of the Duchess– no matter what. And in Soest, it was the mayor, his entourage and supposedly other council members who had instrumentalized the local press to remove me, an openly lesbian woman, from office despite my outstanding achievements and me and my partner from the so-called Soest city society.
So why should the victims, of all people, remain silent and only speak behind the scenes, when it was the perpetrators who had instrumentalized the press?
If the British monarchy is damaged, it is supposedly because the royal family is misogynist, racist and unwilling to come to terms with its past in the colonial era. And if the image of the city of Soest is damaged, it is because the city´s society and the city council tolerate and protect a mayor who is lying in office and in court and is in denial of and unwilling to reflect and tackle social problems such as misogyny, homophobia and racism.
- One thing is different about our stories: in your story the courts were working properly so far. In our story all legal authorities are failing miserably.