A court case began yesterday in which the head of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jarosław Kaczyński, is suing a journalist who claimed that he is gay and had a relationship with a male military intelligence officer, which left him open to blackmail.
Kaczyński – who has led a vocal anti-LGBT campaign by PiS – is demanding a retraction, apology and 10,000 (€2,100) zloty charitable donation to a hospice of his choice. The sued journalist, Jan Piński, has crowdfunded more than 50,000 zloty for his legal costs.
The claims by Piński – who in 2009 briefly served as head of Polish public broadcaster TVP’s news agency – were made on his YouTube channel, which has over 130,000 subscribers, in a March 2021 video titled: “Why does Jarosław Kaczyński persecute LGBT people? Kaczyński’s shameful secret.”
Piński said that, despite PiS’s anti-LGBT rhetoric, Kaczyński is a well-known member of the gay community in Warsaw. He claims that Kaczyński had intimate relations with Piotr P., a Military Information Services (WSI) officer, which exposed him to blackmail.
Media outlets later reported that the officer in question is Piotr Polaszczyk, who in 2014 was among those detained on suspicion of extorting loans from a credit union. In the investigation, he was charged with fraud totalling around 2 billion zloty. No verdict has yet been passed.
In July last year, Piński revealed that Kaczyński had sued him. Kaczyński’s lawyers say that “the expression of false concern about whether the most important politician [in Poland] is being blackmailed sounds completely unbelievable in view of the defendant’s [negative] attitude towards the plaintiff”, reports Gazeta Wyborcza.
During the opening day of the trial yesterday, Piński defended his claims, saying he had seen a photo of “Piotr Polaszczyk and Jarosław Kaczyński in a clearly intimate situation” in the shower, reports Gazeta Wyborcza.
He added that the files on Kaczyński’s homosexual relations had been used by Antoni Macierewicz, currently deputy leader of PiS, to exert control over Kaczyński. After Pinski’s testimony, the court adjourned the hearing indefinitely.
Kaczyński and leading figures from his party have in recent years repeatedly condemned what they call “LGBT ideology” and claim is a set of dangerous ideas imported from the West that are undermining traditional values and even threatening the very existence of the Polish nation.
PiS argues, however, that it is not homophobic and opposes only the “ideology”, not individual people of non-heterosexual orientation. But human rights groups and members of the LGBT community say that the government’s campaign has exposed them to abuse and persecution.
In his accusations against Kaczyński, who is a 73-year-old lifelong bachelor, Piński notes that he is far from the first person to publicly suggest that the PiS chairman is gay. There is, however, no public evidence to support such claims.