Found by OKO.press, she deleted her social media accounts. The situation that unfolded at the Campaign Against Homophobia is reminiscent of other ‘journalistic’ provocations by the right-wing media.

On 29 August 2019, activists of the Campaign Against Homophobia (CAH) organized an integration evening for volunteers. Kasia, who had volunteered two weeks earlier, also came to the meeting at the bowling alley. She was wearing a new pair of glasses.

‘I immediately noticed them. They were clumsy and angular, and they looked like zero power glasses. It also seemed to me that the connection between the eyes was reflecting light,’ says Slava Melnyk, director of CAH.

Kasia – the fake volunteer who tried to infiltrate the Campaign Against Homophobia – appeared outside the organization’s office on 9 September, three days after the publication of that article. This time without spy equipment, but together with television cameras. Based on the footing from the monitoring, OKO.press established that she was accompanied by two long-time employees of TVP.

During the meeting, Kasia was provoking people from CAH to make negative statements about people critical of the LGBT community. She shouted out: ‘fucking mohairs’ and waited to see if anyone picked up the gist. She asked a lot of questions – about the coaches that allegedly took people to equality marches in small towns; and whether CAH went into schools on ‘Rainbow Friday’.

Slava found a model of Kasia’s glasses in the Web. This is spy equipment with a V15 camera, enabling video and audio recording.

We found Kasia’s profile on Facebook. She wrote about herself that she studied at the military university; she was a Legia supporter. She wrote and supported – because when we started asking about her and sent her questions, she deleted her FB and other social media accounts.

‘She said she couldn't believe what was happening in the country’

The Campaign Against Homophobia is one of Poland’s best-known LGBT advocacy organizations. It conducts research into violence and hatred against non-heteronormative people, it pushes for the introduction of legal protection for LGBT people against discrimination, it publishes brochures for young people, parents and teachers, and it runs social campaigns with celebrities.

Kasia joined the organization in the second week of August, through an open recruitment of volunteers. At the first meeting, she told the coordinator, Magda, that she had just returned to Poland from abroad and was looking for work. She wanted to get involved with CAH for a month or two – before starting her volunteer work at a horse auction.

‘When I asked about her incentives, she said she was worried about what was happening in the country. She cannot believe that there is such an atmosphere. She spoke in rather general terms. She didn’t use the words homophobia or witch-hunt, but it seemed to me that we had found a spark of understanding,’ says Magda.

‘She wasn’t the typical person who volunteers with us, but after all, anyone can help. Some people come because they are looking for experience. Others want to check something out for themselves. It is true that they are usually young people, having graduated from high school. They sometimes even come to us earlier. Kasia said she was studying, writing her master’s dissertation. It transpired from the data she gave us that she was over 30 years old,’ Magda adds.

The coordinator presented the terms and conditions of the volunteer agreement to Kasia – these included the prohibition to take out any technical, electronic or personal data without explicit consent. ‘I also told her that certain information – such as the sexual orientation or gender identity of people working with CAH – is sensitive, while sharing it could hurt someone.’

Kasia chose to help organize the CAH Gala as her task. This is an annual event which will be accompanied by the Equality Crown awards ceremony this year. It is attended by activists as well as many well-known supporters of the LGBT community. ‘She claimed that she had experience of event work and this is what she would be best suited for,’ says Magda.

‘When she saw that someone was watching her, she hid her telephone.’

On 28 August, during a meeting of volunteers on the CAH Gala, Kasia was asking about the organizational details.

Who does CAH work with? Which embassies are supporting the organization? How many people will be invited to the gala?

‘I remember her inquisitiveness. A lot of people were saying that she was at least a step ahead. She was asking a lot of questions, making lively comments and jokes,’ says Ola. She took a particular interest in one task. ‘After sending out the invitations to the Gala, we always call selected guests – usually celebrities and politicians – to ask them to confirm their attendance at the event. This is precisely what Kasia wanted to do,’ says Franka. Magda also remembered that she wanted to work on filling in tables from databases.

Ola was the first to notice the girl’s unusual behaviour. ‘I already noticed at the start of the meeting that she was recording sound. We were sitting at a long table. We were on one side, she was more or less on the other. She put her telephone on the table. I saw a revolving red circle and a countdown of seconds on the screen.

After the meeting, I walked quickly to the other end of the room so that I could glance over her shoulder. She was quickly texting someone and a red bar was displayed at the top of the screen, indicating that something was happening in the background.

When she saw that someone was watching her, she nervously put her phone away and moved forwards. She started to move rapidly around the office. She was going from room to room as if she was looking for something.

I asked her directly: who are you looking for? She brushed me off, giving me some name. She turned to me. She started asking about the next march, this time in Zabrze. I answered “I don’t know” to all her questions.’

‘I am recording because I have problems with my memory’.

The next day, on 29 August, the CAH team organized an integration evening for the volunteers at the bowling alley. Kasia came to the meeting, but she was wearing glasses that were different from those that she had the day before. ‘I immediately noticed them. They were clumsy and angular, and they looked like zero power glasses. It also seemed to me that the connection between the eyes was reflecting light,’ says Slava Melnyk, director of CAH.

‘We became attentive after Ola’s suspicions. Kasia sat opposite me so that she had a good view and began to talk loudly about the fact that she had taken part in the Parade. She spoke in a vulgar way about older people with conservative views. She used expressions like: “fucking mohairs”, as if she was waiting for our reaction. I only asked her not to speak with contempt about other people,’ Slava explains. She also asked a lot of questions this time. She asked Magda about the boy who organizes coach transportation for bringing people to equality marches in small towns. ‘We don’t do anything like that,’

Magda explained. However, Szczepana, a CAH volunteer, asked whether CAH was ‘entering schools’ during the ‘Rainbow Friday’ campaign.

Slava found a model of Kasia’s glasses in the Web. It transpired that this is spy equipment with a V15 camera, enabling video and audio recording. ‘I went over to make sure it was that model and, after consulting our lawyer, we asked Kasia to come for a chat,’ says Magda. ‘We were all highly stressed,’ adds Slava.

Magda told Kasia that they had noticed that she was recording them and had breached the volunteer agreement. ‘She didn’t deny it. She just said that she was recording because she had problems with her memory and that’s how she remembers what is happening. I retorted that we were not naive. I think the whole situation surprised her. She didn’t try to explain herself. She didn’t ask about anything else. She took her things and left. We didn’t hear from her again,’ says Magda.

Kasia: a Legia supporter, friend of a TVP propagandist

The CAH activists were left with the mystery of who Kasia really was and why (for whom?) she was recording them.

Kasia used an e-mail address that had been especially set up for contact with them: the forename, surname and the combination of numbers ‘123’. Magda: ‘She said she didn’t have a Facebook account because something terrible had happened to her. She doesn’t want to go into detail, but someone stole her data and that’s why she doesn’t use it.’ Two weeks later, she set up a new FB account: no friends, no photograph, with a rainbow overlay on the ‘cover photo’.

However, it transpired that the woman did have a Facebook profile. It arose from it that she had studied at the military university and was a fan of Legia Warsaw. She had the club’s logo set up as her background photograph, and Legia’s official profile and fan sections among her likes.

She also liked: make-up salons, restaurants, stud farms and – the cherry on the top – the portal of the Karnowski brothers, ‘wpolityce.pl’. She did not publish any homophobic content or, on the contrary, any content supporting the LGBT community.

Her friends on FB (as well as on another social network) included Marcin Tulicki from TVP. He is one of TVP’s propagandists. He became famous for his material on the people who blocked Magdalena Ogórek’s departure in February 2019 in front of the TVP headquarters at Plac Powstańców Warszawy.

He then showed pictures of 10 protesters, captioning them with their full names. Some of the shots showed the places of work of the protesters, as well as their homes.

We previously wrote in OKO.press about Tulicki’s material full of lies and manipulations about, among others, Adam Michnik or the exhumations of the victims of the Smolensk disaster.

Kasia deletes her social media accounts

When we asked people connected to TVP in the past and today about Kasia, her FB profile with the military university, Legia and horses was deleted.

We found her on another social network. We asked in a private message:

  • Why was she collecting materials at CAH and for whom?
  • What was to come out of it?
  • And why did she resort to provocation?

Journalists use provocation when they have information about serious irregularities in a person’s, institution’s or organization’s activities and when there is no other way of confirming whether this information is true. Were Kasia’s activities a journalistic provocation? And if so, what signs of irregularities in the operation of CAH did Kasia have that she decided conduct a provocation?

Kasia also deleted her account on another portal after she read the message from the OKO.press journalist.

Since it is TVP that has been leading the way for several years in the production of materials portraying the LGBT community in a negative light and its journalists have used ‘spy equipment’ to produce this material, we also sent questions about Kasia to the State television. We wanted to know if the woman was working with TVP and if she was collecting material on order to it. We have not received an answer to this day.

Ridicule, slander, infiltrate

This is not the first time that the Campaign Against Homophobia has been subjected to provocation. Before the ‘Rainbow Friday’ campaign, which CAH organizes in schools together with teachers and students, a woman claiming to be a concerned mother called the office. ‘She said she wanted sex education in schools and could we do something about it. We replied that we don’t hold such classes, but she could meet with our expert,’ Magda recounts.

The whole meeting between Asia and the person claiming to be a ‘mum’ was recorded via a hidden camera (most probably located by a button) and broadcast by TVP. At that time, this was about confirming PiS’s and the state media’s narrative about the ‘sexualization of children’ and the ‘homopropaganda’ promoted by the LGBT community in schools.

However, in Kasia’s case, this was the first time someone had entered the structure of the organization, intending to at least ridicule it and, in a worst-case scenario, slander and infiltrate it. ‘Although the situation gives rise to great concern, we consider the matter to be under control for the time being,’ comments Slava Melnyk. ‘The scale of the current homophobic festival of hatred taking place in Poland is astounding. In these difficult times, the LGBT community is showing almost heroic strength.

A strength that we draw from solidarity built on a very strong foundation of trust. And we shall not allow anyone to take this trust that we have in each other away from us,’ adds Mirka Makuchowska, head of the political division of the CAH.

The name of the ‘volunteer’ has been changed at the request of the Campaign Against Homophobia and OKO.press is not publicizing her image.

Anton Ambroziak – journalist and reporter. Winner of the awards: ‘Pen of Hope 2018’ awarded by Amnesty International for committed journalism and the ‘Crown of Equality 2019’. Nomination for the ‘Green Prus’ award of the Association of Journalists of the Republic of Poland for an outstanding start in the profession. At OKO.press, he writes about education, human rights, the civic society and social policy.

Tekst po polsku jest TU



Anton Ambroziak

Dziennikarz i reporter. Uhonorowany nagrodami: Amnesty International „Pióro Nadziei” (2018), Kampanii Przeciw Homofobii “Korony Równości” (2019). W OKO.press pisze o prawach człowieka, społeczeństwie obywatelskim i usługach publicznych.