Steer clear of conspiracy theories: How credible is Xavier Naidoo’s apology? – Politics

It is unusual for the length of the “Discords” section of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to far exceed the section on the artist’s “discography”. This has been the case for several years with Xavier Naidoo, German soul singer and R&B singer and founder of the successful band “Söhne Mannheims”.

While the 50-year-old filled squares and halls across Germany with his concerts, in past pandemic years he made a name for himself primarily through his steadily growing Telegram channel, on which he regularly spreads anti-Semitic and Reich conspiracy ideologies. Citizen’s arguments.

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That should be the end now, at least if you believe in Xavier Naidoo’s own words. Late on Tuesday evening, the artist published a three-minute video clip on all his social media channels, in which he apologized for “many mistakes” and “disturbing statements” in the past.

“I realized that I was on some wrong tracks and that I had made a lot of mistakes in recent years,” explains Naidoo, who was seated on a brown leather sofa during the recording. The man from Mannheim cites the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine as the reason for the sudden change in the situation.

Sorry for his Ukrainian-born wife’s family

The “brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine” and the attendant suffering of his Ukrainian-born wife’s family shook him awake, the singer explained right at the beginning of the statement. As a result, he “critically questioned” himself and his position and admitted that conspiracy stories blinded him.

But how plausible is a supposed departure from conspiratorial ideological thought patterns? Since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, Naidoo has been considered the poster boy for the pandemic denial scene. Tens of thousands of people follow his channel on the Telegram messaging service.

Naidus’ followers are regularly provided not only with misinformation about the coronavirus and the anger generated by the corresponding political containment measures, but also with anti-Semitic statements. In a video distributed by Naidoo last summer, it is claimed that people cannot be gassed with Zyklon B. So the Holocaust is a “successful historical fiction”, or for short: a “fairy tale.”

Naidoo’s statement that the alleged “Jews” “subjugated” the world is consistent with this.

In the conspiracy ideological environment for many years

As with many other greats on the scene, the singer has been radicalized during the past two years of Corona, but Naidoo has drawn attention much earlier with disturbing statements. As early as 1998, Naidoo questioned the legitimacy of the federal election results and spoke of “election fraud”.

This was followed by the musician’s statements in 2011, which until then followed the classic Reich ideology of allegedly still occupied Germany. Naidoo said in a television interview at the time that the United States was still an occupying power. Three years later he appeared at the Reichsburg assembly in front of the Reichstag.

Naidoo’s early statements make it clear that he has been in the ideological conspiracy environment for many years. This is one reason why experts like Joseph Holenberger critically watch Naidoo’s apology video. Holenberger is the managing director of the CeMAS Institute, which specializes in conspiracy theories and right-wing extremism.

The singer is insulted on Telegram channels

He complains on Twitter that the artist does not explicitly mention in his statement “who gives him up”. Additionally, Naidoo said it was “partially exploited”. It was the musician who, in turn, used other people’s instruments, after all Naidoo himself uploaded the anti-Semitic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” on his channel, CeMAS managing director wrote.

Right-wing extremism expert David Bigrich agrees with Holenberger’s analysis. The sociologist and author wrote on Twitter that Naidoo was not only a “consumer of ideology”, but also an “active producer” of his theses. Bigrich explains that presenting oneself as negative is a “typical argument figure” used by dropouts.

The video of Mannheimer’s supposed exit caused his head to shake a lot in an environment that was his until recently. On the ideological conspiracy Telegram channels, the singer is insulted by many as a “traitor”, and other users suspect that Naidoo was forced by “dark forces” to make the statement.

Are you planning to perform again?

In one chat group, a user named Claudia S. wrote: “Suddenly he has two completely different eyebrows, and it has already been noticed. An organizer of the Lateral Thinking Walks in Berlin wonders if Naidu is “taking drugs”: “How can someone with clear vision To suddenly act as if that is not the case anymore?” The reaction of the right-wing video “Activist Man,” who has recorded videos with Xavier Naidoo in the past, reacted differently: “He is definitely still a fighter for the truth and he has his reasons,” sums it up .

It remains unclear to what extent Naidoo plans to appear in public again in the future and whether the three-minute video apology will be enough for agencies, organizers and former fans. The commissioner of anti-Semitism in the Jewish community in Berlin, Sigmunt Königsberg, wrote: “Can one forget, can he be forgiven for having explicitly recommended falsifying anti-Semitism ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion’? I certainly do not.”

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