From Iceland — Bullied At Polish Embassy For Participating In Pride

Bullied At Polish Embassy For Participating In Pride

Published September 9, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by

Margrét Adamsdóttir, a former employee of the Polish embassy in Reykjavík, has filed a complaint with the Polish Foreign Ministry, alleging she was repeatedly bullied by Ambassador Gerard Pokruszyński, in part for participating in Reykjavík Pride, RÚV reports. The Ministry is reportedly investigating the matter, and the embassy has declined to comment.

Margrét was a secretary for Gerard at the embassy from March 2019 until this summer. Her decision to leave was not an easy one, but one she feels she ultimately had to make. The ambassador had reportedly bullied her and more staff at the embassy, with her harassment beginning shortly after she posted photos of herself at Reykjavík Pride last year.

“He said that I, as an employee of the embassy, need to take this into consideration and not damage his image nor that of the embassy,” she told reporters. She told him that she did not see it as a political statement to take part in Pride, but the ambassador replied that it was indeed political, and asked her not to post similar photos nor express any opinions on the matter.

With this, Margrét says, the ambassador’s behaviour towards her began to change. Shortly thereafter, the ambassador accidentally sent an email to the entire embassy staff complaining about her and expressing interest in finding her a new posting.

“When I saw that, I was humiliated,” she told reporters. “I felt awful, and often cried and had anxiety attacks. I couldn’t see working in this kind of environment anymore.”

Since the story of her experiences were first reported by Stundin, the matter has received considerable attention in the Polish press. Margrét says that while she has not heard from the ambassador since leaving the embassy, her family has. She cannot speculate on what the ambassador hopes to gain from this behaviour, but she finds it very uncomfortable.

“It is unbelievably difficult for me and incredibly unfair,” she says. “My family has nothing to do with this matter nor my work at the embassy.”

The case is now on the table at the Foreign Ministry of Poland, and has even been brought up in their parliament. Krzysztof Smiszek, an MP for the party Lewica, submitted a formal question to Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau last Monday, and the Minister has three weeks to respond.

“It’s been a very difficult decision to talk about this,” Margrét says. “But when I saw that none of my former colleagues would, or could—perhaps because they are still working there, or for other reasons—I decided that I maybe had the least to lose. But maybe it will come to light that I still have more to lose.”

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