German-born Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is simultaneously fighting extradition from New Zealand to the United States on racketeering charges and criticism for owning a rare signed copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The founder of MegaUpload, however, denies being a Nazi sympathizer, JTA reports.
Dotcom, whose real name is Kim Schmitz, founded the Internet Party earlier this year, an unregistered political party in New Zealand. One of the party’s main agendas is to advocate against government surveillance. Dotcom believes the anti-Semitic accusations against him are a ploy to set back his party’s campaign.
“I’m being told by some people in a disgusting smear campaign that I am somehow embracing a Nazi ideology,” he told local media earlier this week. “That is completely false; it’s a smear campaign to try and derail what we are trying to achieve today with the launch of the Internet Party.”
However the president of the New Zealand Jewish Council, Stephen Goodman, argued that Dotcom’s pride over his controversial acquisition is an ominous sign. In a statement, Goodman said, “People will be offended by this action and stating it with such pride from such a high-profile position shows great disrespect to those who suffered under the Nazi regime as well as the New Zealand soldiers who fought and died to rid the world of this tyranny. While this ownership is legal in New Zealand, it is morally unacceptable.”
Hannah Dreyfus is an editorial intern at Tablet.