German Sausage Commercial Appears to Mock Celebrity Rape Victim

German comedian Atze Schroder

Comedian Atze Schroder has apologized for a spot in which he seems to make a lewd reference to Gina-Lisa Lohfink, who is fighting a court's dismissal of her claims of sexual assault.

There's been another bizarre twist to the celebrity rape case that has obsessed the German media.

A German sausage company has been forced to apologize for a lewd commercial that appears to mock Gina-Lisa Lohfink, a model and reality TV star at the center of an ongoing sexual assault case. Lohfink has said she may sue Wiesenhof, the sausage company, for damages.

In the TV spot, well-known German comedian Atze Schroder holds up a freshly-BBQed sausage and says to the camera: “Are you ready for the biggest sausage of the summer? Here it is. After this one, Gina and Lisa will have to go to trauma therapy.”

The spot set off a storm of protest, with many accusing Schroder and Wiesenhof of treating rape as a joke. Gina-Lisa Lohfink claims she was raped by two men in 2012, who filmed the encounter and posted the video online. Her case became the focus of national attention when a Berlin court ruled against her, accusing her of making false testimony and ordering her to pay her alleged attackers $27,000 (€24,000) in damages. She has appealed the case and appeared in court this week.

Lohfink has become the face of a national campaign to change German law to make the principle of “no means no” legally binding in sexual assault cases. Activists and politicians in favor of the changes have seized on her case as an example of how the current system often fails, and even punishes, rape victims who come forward to testify.

Wiesenhof and Schroder have apologized for the commercial, calling it a mistake. They claim the spot was shot last year, before Lohfink's rape case become widely known, and that it should never have been shown in the current context. “We would like to apologize and we have taken the video off the internet,” the company said in a statement.

On his official Facebook page, Schroder called the commercial “very stupid ... something I deeply regret. I am completely and without exception against every form of sexual violence,” the comedian wrote. He said he would donate his $22,000 (€20,000) fee for the spot to a charity that fights child prostitution and would also do a benefit show.

“So sorry I was so stupid,” he wrote.

The German Council on Advertising said it received more than a thousand complaints about the commercial within two days of it first airing. The council called the spot “degrading and discriminatory” and not in line with its standards. They questioned why Wiesenhof approved of the commercial in the first place.