Lithuanian TV shuts down program over Nazi gestures by actress

A Lithuanian actress and former politician made a Nazi-like gesture on a TV show, which was subsequently taken off the air.

Lithuania’s public television apologized Wednesday for a live show in which a popular actress made gestures representing Adolf Hitler’s moustache while raising her arm in a Nazi-style salute.

Virginija Buneviciute, a spokeswoman for Lithuanian National Radio and Television LRT, told Associated Press that the contract with the production company behind the popular “Guess the Melody” show was immediately terminated.

During Friday’s contest, which actress Asta Baukute was about to win, she jumped off her seat upon recognizing a melody by Lithuanian composer Simonas Donskovas, who is of Jewish heritage. She then made the gestures and yelled “Jew, Jew, Jew” in Lithuanian.

Neither the show host, the contenders nor anyone in the audience objected to her offensive gesture, supposedly because they thought the moment would be edited out before broadcasting.

The local Jewish community expressed dismay at the incident.

Hours after the show was aired, LRT’s deputy manager, Rimvydas Paleckis, expressed shock on the channel’s Facebook page, adding, “this is in no way compatible with our values.”

“The show is closed,” he declared.

Buneviciute said in an email, “As a public broadcaster, we stick to the policy of non-censorship, yet I can hardly imagine a situation (in which) she would be invited to one of our programs now.”

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Local media said Baukute, a former lawmaker with a populist party in Lithuania, later apologized and said she didn’t want to hurt anyone. She was not immediately available for comment.

This is the latest display of anti-Semitism on eastern European TV.

In November, two celebrity dancers wore uniforms patterned after those worn by inmates in Nazi camps during the Holocaust, including the infamous yellow star, during a performance on a reality show.

Russian TV has used Nazi themes as a form of entertainment in the past.

By: AP and World Israel Staff