Spain’s prosecutor has filed a lawsuit against three comedians for a gag about the Catalan Mossos d’Esquadra police on a Catalan public TV show, ‘Està passant’, which was broadcast on October 16, 2019.
Three Mossos trade unions and a police officials association had taken the case to the prosecutor, and while the humor show’s director, Toni Soler, apologized soon afterwards, on Wednesday Spain’s attorney decided to open a legal case against them.
They are accused of serious slander against law enforcement and the public TV and radio corporation, CCMA, has also been accused of being liable for the gag.
In the controversial program, Soler was shown with two of his collaborators, Jair Domínguez and Magí Modgi. The latter began to talk about dogs, implicitly referring to the Catalan police – in Catalan, ‘dogs’ translates as ‘gossos’ which rhymes for the name of the police force, ‘Mossos’.
Images of dogs with weapons, police helmets and foam projectiles were shown while Modgi is heard saying that when animals do not behave, their owners are to blame – with a photo of the Catalan home affairs minister, Miquel Buch, appearing.
Modgi even used strong language, describing them as “fucking shitty dogs.”
Freedom of speech
While Soler apologized soon afterwards, he said they would defend themselves claiming they are protected by freedom of speech. CCMA’s head, Núria Llorach, supported the show saying that it is “a humor program and the gag needs to be framed in this context.”
The unions and association filing the complaint said the sketch could by no means be accepted as freedom of speech.