Alcohol and sex: The case of LMP’s Péter Ungár

We left the youthful leaders of Momentum, a new political formation with lofty ambitions, at their three-day festival, which was supposed to attract new followers and produce much needed cash for the fledgling party. Unfortunately, the number of attendees was low, and the festival was a financial flop. I also reported on the revelation that the party has had financial support from at least two businessmen, one of whom at least wanted assurances that Momentum would not cooperate on any level with MSZP or DK. In that post I also reported that Edina Pottyondy, a member of Momentum’s board of governors, quit her post two days before the festival’s opening. A few days later another board member resigned.

These two resignations cannot be a coincidence. There must be some very real differences within Momentum’s leadership for that to happen. At first I thought that perhaps the differences of opinion centered on the sources of financial support, but eventually I came to the conclusion that the bone of contention between András Fekete-Győr and some of the others in the leadership was strategic: to remain entirely independent or to work with others for the common goal of removing Fidesz from power. Péter Juhász of Együtt was trying to convince LMP and Momentum to join Együtt, Párbeszéd, and the Two-Tailed Dog Party to create a new political formation called “New Pole” (új pólus). The politicians of these smaller parties became really excited when an opinion poll indicated that such a formation could receive 16% of the votes nationwide. LMP showed some interest in the idea, but without Momentum the idea would have been stillborn.

If I had any doubts about the reasons for the departure of two leading members of Momentum, the news that “a vote of confidence was submitted against the whole board” confirmed my conviction that the internal strife had to center on the strategy of the charismatic András Fekete-Győr, who is adamant about total independence, which will in his view eventually lead to Momentum’s becoming the premier political force in the country. Fekete-Győr survived the vote of confidence. At the same time Momentum decided that not only is cooperation with other parties out of the question; so is even talking with politicians of other parties. Whether this decision was wise, only time will tell.

Concurrently with these happenings, there was an incident that elicited incredible interest from the media. On August 9 azonnali.hu, a trendy new internet site, learned that Péter Ungár, a member of the board of LMP, was thrown out of Momentum’s “Opening Festival” by security guards. A conversation with Ungár couldn’t shed much light on the subject because he had been too drunk to remember the details.

Péter Ungár is a very rich 26-year-old who a few months ago became one of the leading lights of LMP. At the age of 15 his father, András Ungár, died. His mother, Mária Schmidt, court historian of Viktor Orbán, his older sister, and Péter suddenly became exceedingly wealthy. Péter Ungár still has interests in the family enterprise, and from an interview I read it is clear that he has no intention of selling his stake.

Although it is difficult to find too many details about Ungár’s life, given his very recent appearance as a public figure, I learned that he most likely received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Edinburgh. At the age of 17 he had the opportunity to work for the 1998 campaign of Barack Obama. He published a series of articles on the American election in the old Hírszerző.hu, which in 2010 was purchased by HVG. In 2009 and 2010 he published a couple of articles in konzervatorium.hu, which as one can gather from its name is a conservative publication. Sometime after 2012 he enrolled in a master’s program at Central European University.

From Ungár’s conversations with the young crew of azonnali.hu it became evident that this is not the first time he has drunk to excess. Initially, the Momentum leadership was pretty tight-mouthed about the details of Ungár’s expulsion, not just from this particular event but from all future events Momentum organizea. Eventually, however, the public learned that he tried to crawl into the tent of a girl three times and that he told another girl how good he was in bed.

It was inevitable that sooner or later Ungár’s behavior would cause friction between Momentum and LMP, especially since two internet outlets connected to LMP stood by Ungár and made light of his behavior. Or, at least, this is what Tamás Soproni, vice-chairman of Momentum, claims. He showered vulgar epithets on the whole leadership of LMP, whom he called left-lib, pseudo intellectuals. Ungár’s friends and his party should at least remain quiet and not defend this kind of behavior, he warned. Some important people in the democratic opposition also considered the incident so serious politically and morally that they suggested Ungár’s immediate expulsion from LMP.

LMP is not rushing to follow this advice. They first want to have an investigation of the case, which apparently Ungár himself asked for. One possible reason for the party leadership’s hesitancy to act in haste is that reflektor.hu, a relatively new internet site that is close to the party, might be financed or even run by Ungár. I base my opinion on what Ungár had to say about his role in reflektor.hu, which has been full of articles critical of Momentum. He explained that there is an editorial board that is responsible for these published articles. He had nothing to do with them.

The case is embarrassing for LMP, which over the years has been sensitive to women’s issues. It is the only party in Hungary that has a female quota. LMP has a dual chairmanship, held by a man and a woman. The same is true of LMP’s parliamentary delegation. LMP is also one of the moving forces to get the Orbán government to ratify the “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence,” normally referred to as the Istanbul Convention (2011). Hungary signed the convention in 2014, but a year later the ratification was voted down by the massive Fidesz majority. Nothing has happened since.

Some political scientists tried to concoct a political rationale for Momentum’s forceful position on the Ungár incident, viewing it as an excuse for Momentum to turn its back on any kind of cooperation with the smaller parties. I am certain that this is not the case. Momentum has been adamant from the moment it announced its intention to become a party that it would not negotiate with any other party. Fekete-Győr’s strategy is still in place, though, if you ask me, this is not the end of the story.

As for the coverage of the case, among the many editorials there was only one that was thoughtful. It was written by Adél Hercsel of HVG. She talked about the futile conspiracy theories that were invented and the relativization of sexual harassment and excessive alcohol consumption. The country is again in two camps: those who make light of the Ungár case and those who harshly condemn him. Empathy, which is in short supply in Hungary, is absent. This young LMP politician may be behaving the way he does because he has problems that should be addressed. I can recommend this thoughtful essay to those who are interested in this troubling case.

August 14, 2017
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Wondercat
Guest

William Wales and Catherine Middleton attended St Andrew’s, not the University of Edinburgh.

M Chapman
Guest

I believe the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended St Andrews University.

wolt
Guest

Let’s not forget that it was also vaguely mentioned in the reports (maybe in one of azonnali.hu’s articles) that Ungar at this party not only tried to get closer to a girl (or girls) but also to at least one man too. This tidbit didn’t attract much attention. Yesterday I heard the rumor that Ungar was gay which of course may or may not be true.

Ferenc
Guest

“Let’s not forget that…vaguely mentioned…not only tried…but also…didn’t attract much attention… heard rumor…may or may not be true.”
Well well well, the stronger than storm in the thimble inside the tea(?)cup…
Let’s BEST forget it…

Member

@Ferenc, Metzger is back under a different name. He continues to talk bad / defame people, who are not far right.

exTor
Guest

comment image

You say that you “heard [a] rumor that [Péter] Ungár was gay”, wolt? That semantically suggests that PU is no longer gay. Interesting. How did that happen? With or without Freud? Booze?

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

It doesn’t matter at all, who is gay and who is not.
Most important: Not to be a Metzger/wolt, which is unforgivable.

exTor
Guest

Just funning grammarwise, Winston.

Irrespective of who (or what) wolt is,
do you actually believe that Hungarians
can accept gay politicians? I suppose in
cosmopolitan Budapest, but out in the
countryside? Very few pols (aside from
Klára Ungár) have outed themselves.
Doesn’t even happen in the States.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Guest

But say in Germany ? We have quite a few LGBT politicians (even in the Afd!) and the Berlin Mayor came out as gay …
No problem at all!

wolt
Guest

It’s not a problem at all, but it would add an interesting twist to the news.

That’s all. The reports say that Ungar was trying to embrace a girl even though she declined his advances repeatedly but the reports also say that Ungar went three times into the tent of “another person” uninvited.

Interestingly 444.hu’s article mentions this tent affair in its title but the article very consciously neglects to mention the gender of this person in the tent. So do the other reports.

If this is true, the whole embracing of the girl thing may be a cover for the true news that is that Ungar is a closeted gay person. Most Hungarian news sites especially the independent ones respect the privacy of politicians and do not want to raise the gay question.

I have no problem with Ungar being gay (frankly I don’t give a shit about Ungar) but then the question is why cannot an LMP politician who is also filthy rich come out in Hungary in 2017?

wolt
Guest
I would go further. If Ungar is indeed gay then the question is not why the leftist pundits and friends were supposedly so understanding of Ungar’s behavior (as Tamas Soproni of Momentum raised this) but rather why was Momentum’s Soproni and others so outraged in the first place? The Momentum camp was a festival with music, professional musicians. Such festivals are for young people to party together, to get to know each other, which not uncommonly includes having sex. If the affair was really just about embracing or groping a girl and some stupid talk about Ungar’s endowment it would’ve been considered normal even if completely inappropriate. But it wouldn’t have warranted Ungar’s expulsion from any festival. But a molestation of a man by another man is still considered taboo in Hungary. But I guess Momentum didn’t want to be seen as outing Ungar so they didn’t mention it and rather professed outrage about the Ungar’s behavior with the girl and vaguely threatened Ungar by saying that they (Momentum) know much more and Ungar should be thankful that they don’t talk (ie. outing him as gay). Of course I may be wrong but comments to 444.hu’s article do mention the… Read more »
Guest

Because it’s Hungary …
I’ve written it so often here:
Hungary is fifty years behind in the development of democracy (at least …)!
What’s going on right now reminds me so much of the “revolutionary 60’s” in France, Germany etc – with just a “small” difference:
The democratic/sexual etc revolution is probably unsuccessful in Hungary – Hungarians (at least Fidesz etc) want a return to Horthy times!

exTor
Guest

How about this. Péter Ungár goes into a girl’s tent, even though he is (very) drunk, even though he is gay, knowing full well that he will get kicked out, proceeds to put on an act bragging to the girl about ‘great sex’, all this just to burnish his ‘het cred’, not unlike Rock Hudson getting ‘married’ in the late 1950s. Another ‘false flag’ [diversion] as the altists like to say.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Jean P.
Guest

“heard [a] rumor that [Péter] Ungár was gay”

Correct language is not what the books say. It is what people say.

Member

Actually “was gay” is grammatically correct because to say that you “heard a rumor that (something)” is a form of indirect/reported speech and so the grammatical rule of backshifting the verb applies here.

eg.
direct speech: Dan said, “John’s gay.”
indirect/reported: Dan said Jon was gay.
(or in this case: I heard someone say Jon was gay.)

It’s just a grammatical issue and has no bearing on present status, despite what you wrote. (Incidentally I have no interest in Mr. Ungár’s sexual orientation, just making a point about English grammar.)

More here: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/reported-speech/reported-speech-indirect-speech

exTor
Guest
Uhoh, a three-against-one gangup. Correct language is what people say? Rather fatuous, Jean P. Your ‘correct language’, such as it may be, is a product of years of schooling plus years of reading/writing. The fact that you appropriated a grammar template of sorts means that you can write at a reasonable level without annoying others. Written communication should be at a higher level than streettalk, Jean P. You should know that. Just like I absolutely love Samantha Bee, I absolutely love grammar, shoopy. I spend an inordinate amount of time on it. I have often thought of writing a book on grammar, but that’s far down the road. Why should Lynne Truss have all the fun/glory. You and wolt are not wrong using the “Ungár was gay” snippet, according to a couple of online sources I looked at, which also said that my version is also correct. My argument is that my version is the PREFERRED one. With respect to wolt’s sentence fragment [“Yesterday I heard that Ungár was gay”] there are two important linked facts: ‘gayness’ and ‘hearing’. Because it is presumed that the person in question is no less gay today than yesterday, that reality MUST be revealed… Read more »
Jean P.
Guest

“Written communication should be at a higher level than streettalk”

Language is changing faster than grammaticians can tolerate. Their books need revision before the ink is dry. The renewal comes from streettalk. When many people adopt an “incorrect” expression in stead of a more cumbersome one that expression has become correct.

exTor
Guest

It is true that language is changing, seemingly by the minute, however that is not the point. There is a difference between streettalk and (let’s call it) bookspeak, Jean P. You are mistaken when you state that language changes “faster than grammaticians can tolerate”.

The fundamentum of English, as of any language, is large and stable. Good writers need to know it well before they can break its rules. The changes that we witness (from streetspeak) only nibble at the surface, having little to do with the entirety of the language, not unlike a pretty redhead with yet another freckle on her face after having been in the sunshine awhile. Some might not even notice.

My point (belabored above) was to demonstrate a linguistic nuance that many longtime writers miss. I was born into English (simultaneously with Hungarian) and I knew from early on that I have an affinity for the language, although my highschool marks (especially in the later grades) did not necessarily reflect any special connection to English.

Finally, saying “Yesterday I heard that Ungár IS gay” is most definitely NOT “more cumbersome” than saying “Yesterday I heard that Ungár WAS gay”. It only requires some level of linguistic [grammar] logic.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Member

Wow, I can tell that you think very, very highly of yourself, exTor!

In fact, I am positive that you think you’re the smartest person on this site by far, am I right or wrong?

exTor
Guest

I semiregretted the final-five words
of my extra-long explanation after I
had sent it, shoopy. Your takeaway
was not much of a surprise for me.

MAGYARKOZÓ

exTor
Guest

comment image

No false modesty here, shoopy, although I tend to limit my perhaps-overweening selfregard to the verifiable. Were I the smartest kid on the block, defacto or only in my mind, I would have blown this popstand ages ago. As it is, I’ve got lots to learn and I am always willing to be disabused of erroneity, grammatical or otherwise, but only by facts. Nota bene.

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

‘erroneity’–a fine coinage, exTor!

exTor
Guest

Köszönöm a teljesen ritka bókot petőfi.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Jean P.
Guest

You can better your ways by not inserting flashy and usually irrelevant pictures in your comments. If everyone tried to get attention that way the comment section would be boulevardized and unattractive.

exTor
Guest

But what better way, Jean P.,
in the perhaps-mistitled
Age of Irony ???

MAGYARKOZÓ

exTor
Guest

ADDENDUM

My “flashy and usually irrelevant” inserts
are never irrelevant [read: disconnected]
to the topic at hand. Just because you
miss the connect does not mean that
it is not present. Perhaps what really
irks is my presumed-to-be tawdry
attempts at drawing eyes to words.

In the age of supersaturation, verbal
and otherwise, ways must be found
and used to enable an emergence
from “the swamp”, to quote Trump,
which is the way DJT became prez.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Jean P.
Guest

ExTor for president.

exTor
Guest

Thanx Jean P. I’ll settle for
Prime Minister. Hungary?

MAGYARKOZÓ

Tyrker
Guest

Come on exTor, are you unfamiliar with the concept of reported speech? wolt might be a malicious gossiper, but his/her sentence is grammatically correct.

exTor
Guest

Please reread my criticism of shoopy’s crit
of my grammar, Tyrker. Yes, wolt referred
to something he had heard, however wolt’s
reference to that overhearing was NOT in
the form of indirect speech. That’s the rub.
This is a grammar issue, not a fact issue.

MAGYARKOZÓ

bimbi
Guest

“LMP… …has been sensitive to women’s issues.” So too, it seems, was Mr. Ungar – “Lez git it ON, baby!”.
Don’t forget, he is only a lad (apparently with too much money) and likely to do stupid things. One would think that initially Momentum took the right action, but then to use this as yet another excuse (as if one were wanted) to ensure even more chaos in the ranks of the Hungarian left is just plain silly, perverse, suicidal – but then we are talking about the Hungarian opposition. Too many Chiefs and not enough grey matter? It is all part of a slow self-generated Dance of Death.

Ferenc
Guest

What remains for me from this ‘storm in a tea(?)cup’ is that the person using the words “ballibsi, álértelmiségi pöcs – left-lib, pseudo intellectuals” in a facebook statement is and remains a member of Momentum’s board of governors.
First it shines a light on the most likely political position of Momentum.
Second it could indicate the method of the Momentum leader: keep yourself shit-free and let your helpers do the dirty works.
Note: during my time spent in Hungary, I have noticed the usage of this very method (too) many times by the current PM (e.g.2002 kokarda usage, speakers and non-speakers in parliament 2002-2010, etc)

bimbi
Guest

@Ferenc, 4:03 a.m.

Yes, that is why Zsolt Bayer is maintained as Orban’s Useful Idiot – because he is useful.

Aida
Guest

Bayer is Orban’s court jester, see Rigoletto. He is neither useful nor an idiot.

The useful idiots are those who give credence to the Orban regime.

bimbi
Guest

@Aida, 2:34 a.m.

No, Zsolt Bayer is useful because he provides Fidesz’s anti-Semitic voice when needed and he serves thereby as a stand-in for VO. Bayer is also very usefully anti-immigrant, anti-gay- anti-anything ‘other’. If you like, he is Fidesz’s spokesperson of the alt-right but thereby he is useful.

Guest

Yes, Bayer says what people expect from Fidesz – and what Orbán also thinks but is still afraid of saying, because he fears the wrath of the EU etc…
Just remember those Fidesz mayors from Zala county who also expressed it clearly:
We don’t care what the law says (especially internationally accepted UN rules, stupid things like human rights etc …) we are “Tiszta Magyar” and we want Hungary just for “Pure Hungarians”!
Everybody else leave (unless of course you give a lot of money to the Fidesz honchos, then you’re welcome)!

Ferenc
Guest

“Zsolt Bayer is maintained as Orban’s Useful Idiot”
repeat of a short comparison commented in 2017.Aug.13 post:
Gorka to djT like Bayer&Nemeth to OV!

wrfree
Guest

If Magyarorszag brought in ‘prohibition’ it looks Petey would have a rough time. If his career is politics fine but politics with drink just might give him the shortest career ever.

It’s ugly enough to see plenty of the moonshine and its brutal effects rolling around in the society but to see it in full flower in its electoral representatives has to be just piling on. I think mom should have a sitdown with her son. The talk might do them both and Magyarirszag.

wrfree
Guest

Sorry fingers too fast..’The talk might do them both and Magyarorszag good’.

Member

Wait – You mean there is a 26-year-old Hungarian boy who drinks to excess? And when he does, he behaves badly? I have never heard of such a thing!

wrfree
Guest

Put that boy in de hazibuli! I went to one there when I was a ‘teenage wasteland’..😎 We had the place going with the Stones and Beatles. I hope those kids remember. I heard even Kadar tried to get in…;-)….

Member

A Hungarian schools an American on fascism in this US Government film from the 1940s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7k0971Hy5eo

Full film here: (17′): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K6-cEAJZlE

Ferenc
Guest

Here’s the original, upload in 2002: “Don’t Be a Sucker” (1947, U.S. War Department)
https://archive.org/details/DontBeaS1947
Watch and/or download in whatever format you prefer…

Ferenc
Guest

More Hungarian connections to “Don’t Be a Sucker” discovered. The Hungarian-American professor is played by Paul Lukas, born as Lukacs Pal in 1894 in Budapest. Became an actor, was internationally successful and arrived in 1927 in Hollywood, made many films there and even won an Oscar in the 1940s.
https://444.hu/2017/08/16/oscar-dijas-magyar-szinesz-75-evvel-ezelotti-figyelmeztetese-terjed-szelsebesen-a-charlottesville-i-merenylet-utan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Lukas
cut with added Hungarian subtitles:
https://www.facebook.com/agostonlaszloartist/videos/1212051398898956/

PS: what about making a ‘Hungarian’ version of “Don’t Be a Sucker” with adding of some OV&Co texts and propaganda material (e.g.billboard slogans, leaflet texts) to the original
usable locations for additions: foreigners with money [Soros] / jobs that belong to me and you [2015 Nat.Consult.] / find it [the truth] here in this little pamflet [2016 Ref.leaflet] / until it’s a country without / without…..[???] / I saw it in Berlin – I see it in Budapest / Stupid fanatics [NSz-Kosa] / prejudice as a practical weapon [???] / it isn’t going to be you [OV&Meszaros]

Member

If Ungar is 26, he could not have possibly worked on Barack Obama’s 1998 campaign. Unless he was a very talented seven-year-old boy.

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