Rave the Planet organiser Dr. Motte criticised for holding up symbol of anti-lockdown movement Querdenker
The festival organiser and DJ claims he had "no idea" what the symbol meant
Dr. Motte has received criticism after a video emerged of him holding up the symbol of the notorious COVID conspiracy movement Querdenker during Rave The Planet's procession through Berlin on Saturday (July 9).
The Rave the Planet, and formerly Love Parade, organiser is seen in a short clip holding up a "Freedom Parade" sticker from Querdenker — a "lateral thinking" organisation known within Germany for its extreme opposition to COVID measures, including anti-vaccine stance, and alleged association with far-right, anti-Semitic groups such as the AfD (right-wing populist political party Alternative for Germany).
#b0807 gestern hat man gesehen dass auf der loveparade das Symbol der corona-leugner von der freedom Parade nach gehalten wurde bitte kein Symbol sein der loveparade das fand ich gestern ziemlich daneben pic.twitter.com/397hsH6Ms8— Demokratie Frei Haus (@t47da) July 10, 2022
In a series of tweets, Motte denied any association with the group — claiming to have "no idea how the sticker had gotten onto his parade float" and that he "didn't recognise the symbol."
"I hereby distance myself from lateral thinkers and similar organizations. Never again fascism. May all people and animals be happy," he said in a Tweet.
On Saturday its estimated 200,000 people descended onto the streets of Berlin for the first edition of Rave the Planet, a new incarnation of Love Parade — which Motte was also fundamental in organising from the early '90s until 2010 when a deadly crowd crush at the parade's Duisberg edition killed 21 people and left over 500 injured.
During a speech at the rally, Dr. Motte appealed for recognition from UNESCO for Berlin's techno heritage, universal basic income for artists and the end to dancing bans on Christian holidays, reports Der Tagesspiegel.
Motte was due to make an appearance at the Mein Grundeinkommen raffle tomorrow (July 13) — a famous monthly live stream within Germany where members of the public can win €1000 a month for a year. Mein Grundeinkommen is also known for campaigning for universal basic income.
However, the non-government organisation announced that Dr. Motte would no longer be participating: "We take this incident and all reactions to it very seriously. We don't want to offer a platform for lateral thinker discussions. dr Motte will not be a guest at our raffle."
Motte responded: "I stand 100% for human rights. I am independent and do not belong to any political organization. I don't understand how this sticker got on the float. I may have been manipulated. We'll investigate. I didn't recognize the symbol."
Many have questioned Motte's lack of awareness of the Querdenker symbol due to another video posted by Twitter user ephraim_ki featuring DJ and Querdenken (Germany's anti-lockdown movement) member Captain Future.
Captain Future is an outspoken COVID-sceptic and psytrance DJ and was removed from the line-up of an event at Berlin's KitKatClub last month due to public backlash over his views.
Captain Future is seen showing Motte a placard that reads "Never again lockdown," at which the 62-year-old festival organiser appears to be point in recognition and takes a picture using his smartphone.
Another photograph posted on Twitter shows Captain Future holding what appears to be a Querdenker sticker while walking with Dr. Motte.
In a statement given to Mixmag, organisers of Rave the Planet said that Dr. Motte had believed the sticker was for "Freedom Parade" in Łódź Poland, an offshoot of Love Parade, and that any connection with Querdenker was simply a mix-up:
"We, the organizers of the Rave The Planet Parade, as well as Dr. Motte himself definitely and expressly distance ourselves from the Querdenker movement. We do not maintain any contacts there either.
"In fact, Dr. Motte didn't know the symbol at all and only saw a peace sign and hearts. If you do not know that this symbol is so occupied, who would think that hearts and peace and freedom could stand for something negative?
"Besides, Dr. Motte is soon invited to the Freedom Parade in Łódź Poland, an offshoot of the Love Parade, which will also be held this year for the first time after a long break. So not only was he not aware that it was a Querdenker symbol, but also a mix-up.
"It was just a stupid chain of circumstances and we are still investigating who put that sticker on the float in the first place."
This isn't the first time Dr Motte has been criticised for his words or actions. As reported by Groove, he has a section of his website dedicated to apologising for controversial statements he's made in the past.
This includes a 1995 interview with Tages Spiegel in which he is quoted as saying "Dies ist mein Aufruf an alle Juden der Welt, sie sollen doch mal eine neue Platte auflegen. Und nicht immer nur rumheulen", which translates as "This is my call to all Jews in the world to put on a new record. And don't just cry".
In 2009, Motte was forced to apologise for a speech in which he alleged the "peace sign" was an "inverted man rune" — a fact he'd learned from a "Nazi book". In the same speech he also complained about the "bad, gay politics that nobody needs" of former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit — Wowereit became the first openly gay mayor of Berlin in 2001. His response and apologies to these statements can be read here.
Megan Townsend is Mixmag's Deputy Digital Editor, follow her on Twitter