Prof. Michał Bilewicz – with the support of IJL – won the case against Cezary Krysztopa, an antisemitic cartoonist. The court dismissed Krysztopy’s libel claim
On April 9, 2021, the Court of Appeal in Warsaw dismissed all claims in the lawsuit initiated by Cezary Krysztopa against Prof. Michał Bilewicz. The Court shared in full the position of the Warsaw Regional Court taken in its judgment of November 19, 2020, in which the Regional Court found the lawsuit baseless. The judgment is final.
The Court of Appeal stressed in particular that in his comments Prof. Bilewicz did not go beyond the limits of free speech and was raising a matter of antisemitism which should be considered an issue of great public importance.
Professor Michał Bilewicz is the Head of the Center for Research on Prejudice at the University of Warsaw, an interdisciplinary research unit where social psychologists and sociologists collaborate on topics related to prejudice, antisemitism, racism, and discrimination. He is one of the world’s top experts on psychological and social aspects of antisemitism. Professor Bilewicz is a public figure and actively participates in public debates on the Holocaust, Polish antisemitism and Polish-Jewish relations.
In March 2018, during a public lecture at the POLIN Museum in Warsaw, Professor Bilewicz presented a drawing by Cezary Krysztopa, a well-known caricaturist closely linked to national and right-wing circles in Poland. He called Krysztopa a “notorious antisemite” and indicated that his drawings provoke a wave of vicious antisemitism on-line. These statements were based on the entire series of Krysztopa’s earlier drawings and public statements. Krysztopa sued Professor Bilewicz for defamation and copyright infringement.
The case was managed by Adv. Michal Jabłoński from the Warsaw office of the Dentons Law Firm, and coordinated by Dr. Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias, who co-leads Dentons’ Warsaw public interest strategic litigation program, and also serves as a member of the IJL’s Board of Governors.
The IJL supported the case and has also joined the proceedings as amicus curiae.