Hungarian conductor Ádám Fischer became the 100th Hungarian notable to announce that he was returning his state award after Fidesz publicist Zsolt Bayer received the Knight’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary.
Fischer returned his Middle Cross—a higher-level award than the one bestowed on Bayer—without public comment.
Preceding the return of the Middle Cross by the Kossuth prize-winning conductor was that of the Officer’s Cross by Hungarian composer László Dés.
Dés wrote the following on his Facebook page:
“Since I cannot find any other forum where I could write that I am giving back my (civilian) Officer’s Cross, I am announcing it here. I do not wish to address Zsolt Bayer or his ‘body of work’ because that would be truly unworthy. However, I do wish to address the fact that Hungary’s current government believed such a person to be worthy of the award. Of course, this is not to say that I am surprised since it was long coming. In doing so I join the other decorated, honorable people who cannot stomach this any more than I can. To those who ask why so late a reaction, I can only say that in life there are also important matters: family, work, fun, etc. In other words, I only got around to it now.”
Fischer is the third Middle Cross recipient to return the award. He is preceded by Methodist minister Gábor Iványi and former Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe representative for press freedom Miklós Haraszti. Scores of Hungarian notables returned their Knight’s Cross in protest at Bayer receiving the award on the occasion of Hungary’s national day, August 20.