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David Černý must pay to National Gallery’s ex-head for slander

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Prague, Feb 23 (CTK) – Czech artist David Cerny must pay 100,000 crowns in compensation to Milan Knizak, former director of the National Gallery (NG), for having called him names in a documentary film broadcast by the public Czech Television (CT), the Prague High Court ruled for the third time on Tuesday.

The verdict has taken effect.

Only a petition for an appellate review can be filed with the Supreme Court that annulled the appeals court’s verdict twice in the past.

Knizak, 75, claimed a financial compensation and an apology from Cerny, 48, who called him “a stuck-up crippled prick” in a TV documentary in 2011.

Knizak, a dissident artist who was persecuted and imprisoned during the communist regime, said Cerny had intended to discredit him by his words, and he had thereby violated his right to honour and dignity.

The High Court repeatedly approved a financial compensation for Knizak for the violation of his personal rights, and, unlike the Prague City Court, it ruled that an apology would not be a sufficient satisfaction.

Moreover, Cerny is to cover Knizak’s court costs of 53,000 crowns.

The judge on Tuesday criticised CT as well saying it had failed grossly by broadcasting the documentary. CT was originally the other party in the dispute. Similar to Cerny, it also apologised to Knizak in the past.

The disputes between both artists have become notorious.

In 2000, Cerny refused to take over an award in the NG as long as Knizak was its head. After a brawl, Knizak had him escorted out of the gallery and then president Vaclav Havel eventually gave Cerny the award on the pavement outside the NG premises.

Cerny often provokes the public and the establishment with his artifacts, such the black babies decorating the TV tower in Prague, and his “disrespectful” version of the equestrian statue of St Wenceslas, Czech holy patron, turned upside down.

He caused a fuss in Brussels with his Entropa installation, which consisted of stylised maps of all EU countries hinting at various stereotypes linked with them, during the Czech EU presidency in the first half of 2009.

Four days before the autumn 2013 early general election, Cerny placed a ten-metre purple middle finger on the Vltava Rivery. The finger’s obscene gesture seemed to aim at the Prague Castle, the seat of President Milos Zeman.

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