MPs Bad-Mouth Female Politicians in Recorded Conversation

Gunnar Bragi and Sigmundur Davíð

MPs of the Centre Party used harsh words to describe their female colleagues in a conversation recorded at a Reykjavík bar, Stundin reports. They suggested one politician should be placed lower on the candidates list in upcoming primaries because she was no longer as “hot” as she used to be. Stundin received a recording of the conversation between Centre Party MPs Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Bergþór Ólason, and Anna Kolbrún Árnadóttir, as well as People’s Party MPs Karl Gauti Hjaltason and Ólafur Ísleifsson, where they use the word “cunt” to describe two colleagues.

Not as “hot” as before

A transcript of part of the conversation is as follows:

Gunnar Bragi: “I actually think that […] could be damn powerful. She’s a damn cute girl.”

Sigmundur Davíð: “This is that kind of moment, a young woman, young people in the Independence Party, ‘let’s lift her up.’”

Bergþór: “Now I’m going to say something that’s of course very rude, but she’s losing her shine fast. She’s way less hot this year than she was just two years ago. There’s an incredible difference.”

Sigmundur Davíð: “And for that reason, I say she’ll go well down on the list.”

Bergþór: “Naturally.”

At that point in the conversation, Anna Kolbrún cut in: “Would you consider for a second, if this were a man?” to which the others responded with laughter.

“Full-on crazy cunt”

Centre Party MP Bergþór Ólason was recorded describing Inga Sæland, chairperson of the People’s Party, as a “full-on crazy cunt,” while trying to convince Karl Gauti and Ólafur to leave the People’s Party and join his own. Sigmundur Davíð is heard laughing in response to this statement, agreeing, and saying that Bergþór was “always right.”

At another point in the conversation, the MPs string together the letters U,N, and T, and speculate on which women could be described by placing the letter C in front of the former letters, thereby spelling “cunt.” When it was suggested the word best described Progressive Party MP Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir, the group laughed. Bergþór then described her an “unreliable woman” and Anna Kolbrún called her “dangerous.”

Former Independence Party MP Unnur Brá Konraðsdóttir, as well as Social-Democratic Alliance MP Oddný Harðardóttir were also the subject of harsh words in the conversation.

When Anna Kolbrún suggested that women in general lack math skills, Gunnar Bragi asked: “is that why they don’t know how many people they’ve slept with?” “There’s the explanation,” Bergþór remarked in response. “I think that’s right,” added Sigmundur Davíð.

Wrote about HeforShe

It may be noted that Gunnar Bragi wrote about feminist campaign HeforShe in British newspaper The Guardian in 2015. “For me, the crux of the matter is that promoting and protecting gender equality involves more than government action,” Gunnar wrote in the piece. “It requires a shift in attitudes and behavior.” Gunnar Bragi wrapped up the article by stating: “We need men to talk, listen and educate. Gender inequality cannot be the legacy we leave behind.”

Sigmundur Davíð, whose Centre Party hold seven seats in Parliament, only one of which is occupied by a woman, said in a recent interview he believes women avoid politics due to “personal defamation.” He stated more women than men avoid careers in politics because they “aren’t fond of how politics appears.”

Icelandair and WOW Merger Dropped

Icelandair Group will not go forward with their purchase of WOW air, RÚV reports. According to Icelandair’s statement to the Iceland Stock Exchange, the decision to back out of the purchase agreement signed November 5 was a mutual one between the two companies.

In a statement released on November 26, Icelandair Group asserted it was unlikely that WOW air would fulfil all conditions required by the purchase agreement before a shareholders’ meeting to be held November 30. The company’s most recent statement says the situation remains unchanged, and on that basis Icelandair Group’s board of directors cannot recommend to their shareholders to move forward with the purchase agreement. The board does intent to propose a postponement on the decision-making at tomorrow’s meeting.

“The management and directors of both companies have worked wholeheartedly on this project. The outcome is certainly a disappointment,” stated Bogi Nils Bogason, CEO of Icelandair Group. He thanked WOW air’s management for their good cooperation and wished the company’s owners and staff all the best.

Skúli Mogensen, CEO and founder of WOW air, stated it was clear from the outset that the merger was an ambitious project. “We thank the management of Icelandair Group for their cooperation in this challenging project and also wish the management and staff of Icelandair Group all the best.”

When asked whether layoffs would be in the cards at the company, Skúli did not rule out the possibility, saying “it could be the case.” Skúli is in talks with another party about the purchase of WOW air, but has refrained on commenting as to who the party is or how far the talks have gone. Svanhvít Friðriksdóttir, public relations officer at WOW, stated the company was in a secure position to continue operations, but would not confirm for how long. Employees have been told they would receive their salaries as usual at the end of the month.

Icelandair shares fell sharply after the announcement the purchase would not go forward, showing a 10% drop around 11.00am this morning.