A Hungarian government official has called Lewis Hamilton’s solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community “fake news”.
Earlier this week, the British racing driver took to his Instagram to condemn Hungary’s archaic anti-LGBTQ+ law.
“To all in this beautiful country Hungary. Ahead of the Grand Prix this weekend, I want to share my support for those affected by the government anti-LGBTQ+ law,” he said.
“It is unacceptable, cowardly and misguiding for those in power [to suggest] such a law. Everyone deserves to have the freedom to be themselves no matter who they love or how they identify.
“I urge the people of Hungary to vote in the upcoming referendum to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community they need our support more than ever.”
Last month, Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orbán and his government passed anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that bans “content promoting gender change or homosexuality” within the school curriculum.”
Since Hamilton’s post, Orbán’s justice minister Judit Varga has come out criticising the F1 driver for “fake news.”
“I have sadly seen that Lewis Hamilton is also joining the camp of international fake news manufacturers by attacking our child protection law,” Varga told Kronen Zeitung.
“I suggest that Lewis Hamilton should read the Hungarian Child Protection Act. And then the shoemaker should stick to making shoes and an F1 driver should stick to driving.”
Hamilton isn’t the only F1 driver that has called out the government for their controversial law.
Taking to Twitter, German racer Sebastian Vettel uploaded a photo of his shoes on a Hungarian race track featuring a rainbow design.
His tweet also contained a rainbow emoji and a hashtag for the Grand Prix.
Vettel elaborated on his support for the LGBTQ+ community in a statement on Thursday (29 July).
“I find it embarrassing for the country,” said Vettel.
“I can’t understand why they (the government) are struggling to see why everybody should be free to do what they like.”
Since passing their damaging legislation, Hungary has also come under fire by LGBTQ+ activists and the European Commission.
MEPs called the legislation “a clear breach of the EU’s values, principles and law” and last week urged the European Commission to pursue a legal case against Orbán’s government.
459 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favour of the resolution, with 147 against and 58 abstaining in Strasbourg. If the case is brought to the European Court of Justice, the country could face financial penalties.
Ursula Von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, called the law “disgraceful” in a statement.
“This law uses the protection of children, to which we are all committed, as an excuse to severely discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation. This law is disgraceful.”
Last week, Orbán announced that a referendum regarding the archaic law will take place.
“LGBTQ+ activists visit kindergartens and schools and conduct sexual education classes. They want to do this here in Hungary as well,” he stated in a Facebook video on Wednesday (21 July).