German comedian Jan Böhmermann has been nominated for the Grimme Online Award following the uproar surrounding his poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The 35-year-old was submitted in a "special" category.
The Grimme jury said the decision to nominate Böhmermann had predated the recent controversy surrounding his rendition of a snide poem about Turkish President Erdogan.
The poem, delivered in front of a Turkish flag, was originally intended to exemplify the difference between rightful satire and legally prohibited diatribe, said Böhmermann. Erdogan seems to disagree with Böhmermann's interpretation and has filed a defamation suit against the comedian.
Others think that Böhmermann's unapologetic style amounts to much-needed comic relief in today's political climate. Frauke Gerlach, director of the Grimme Institute, which examines media culture in Europe, said that the awards committee decided to submit Böhmermann's name on account of his eligibility as an online personality.
"He manipulates the mechanisms that govern the internet as well as with the reactions he receives," she said.
If Böhmermann wins the award it would be his second Grimme Prize. He received the award in a different category for his 2015 satire about former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. The prize ceremony was held at the beginning of April, amidst Turkey's initial reactions to his controversial poem: The comedian did not attend the ceremony, shaken by the turn of events.
The Grimme Online Awards ceremony is due to be held in Cologne on June 24.
ss/eg (dpa, EPD)