Proposed Ban on Totalitarian Symbols in Hungary May Criminalize Heineken’s Logo
The Hungarian National Assembly is reportedly considering a proposed ban on Soviet and Nazi symbols that would impose fines of up to $6.97 million and a potential prison sentence on businesses using such marks, likely including Heineken and its red star logo. The ban targets symbols related to Hungary’s years of Nazi occupation and decades of communist rule, including the swastika, hammer and sickle, arrow cross and red star. Hungary’s Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen, a co-sponsor of the bill, reportedly called Heineken’s red star logo “obvious political content” and would not deny that the bill was retaliation for a lengthy legal battle between Heineken and a brewery in Transylvania, a region of Romania home to many ethnic Hungarians. See Reuters, March 20, 2017.