Behemoth frontman Adam "Nergal" Darski has launched a GoFundMe, "Ordo Blasfemia", after being convicted of "offending religious feelings" in his native Poland for posting a picture of himself standing on a painting of the Virgin Mary. Conservative legal group Ordo Iuris and another group, the Patriotic Society, accused Nergal of offending four people with the photo, according to state broadcaster TVP Info.
After the YMCA thing ended up not being true, we weren't sure what to believe here, but this news appears to be real. He was reportedly fined 15,000 zloty for the "offense," and an additional 3,500 zloty in legal fees, which works out to almost $5,000 USD; he also could be sentenced to prison. He's planning to contest the charges, just the latest to be leveled against him by the Polish government who is known for similar cases, according to the BBC.
On the GoFundMe, Nergal writes:
My name is Nergal and I am an artist from Poland. For over a decade I have been confronted with numerous attempts to permanently destroy my career on the basis that I have harmed 'religious feelings'. It sounds absurd and I can assure you, it is.
Many Polish artists, including myself, have been dragged into court rooms, at our own significant costs, to defend ourselves against nonsensical blasphemy laws made by tenuous Politicans. Their intent is to censor anyone who does not conform to the archaic religious laws of our country. The time has come for Polish artists to fight back - join us in the Ordo Blasfemia.
Your donation will help fund a sustainable legal challenge to squash the existing and incoming bogus prosecutions. Help us reach the target so we can distribute to other artists facing their own legal challenges.
If you are unable to donate - thank you for your support. Please keep checking back in and sharing updates!
He goes on to outline previous cases against him, including when he ripped apart a bible onstage, calling it a "book of lies."
Speaking recently to The Irish Times, Nergal said:
I don’t think the public know the details of the level of harassment I have been through. It is getting monstrous, and it is a growing tide of censorship and harassment. Every few weeks I have to check myself in at the police and go for different hearings and spend a fortune on lawyers with all the costs around court cases.
I am being the perfect target. The Polish authorities just pick on me. It is not a secret that a prosecution officer has me as his favourite scapegoat. He follows my Instagram account. Can you imagine that? It’s insane and absolutely unprecedented.”
I am being made a criminal for posting a fucking photograph on Instagram. In Ireland you have been through all this before, but now you are a secular state. Now I give Ireland as an example of what Poland should follow in order to evolve.
Among those who have spoken out in support of Nergal are Dead Can Dance, who shared the GoFundMe on Facebook, writing, "We stand in support of Adam Darski of the group Behemoth who faces 2 years in prison if convicted of blasphemy. Poland's antiquated religious laws are shameful and a violation of human rights and secular freedom of expression."
Previously, Nergal has been faced with allegations of racism and fascism, which he denies.