Corsage actor Florian Teichtmeister sentenced for child ography

The case caused a real scandal in Austria. The actor playing Emperor Franz Joseph in “Corsage”, a biopic of Empress Sissi, was sentenced on Tuesday in Vienna to a two-year suspended prison sentence for possession and production of child ography.

On the poster of “Corsage”, the 43-year-old comedian was accused of obtaining “approximately 76,000 documents” online over the period from February 2008 to August 2021, more than half of which involved victims aged 7 to 14. He had modified many of them, making collages, slideshows and video montages.

“Corsage,” which hit theaters in 2022, was filmed before “rumors emerged in fall 2021,” as its production explained. It was then presented in nearly 70 festivals and its actor, who had affirmed “with conviction to be innocent”, was invited to premieres in Austria as well as in Germany.

The film caught up in the scandal

He competed in the “Un certain Regard” selection last year at the Cannes Film Festival, where the actress who plays Sissi, Vicky Krieps, received the award for best performance. In the running for the British film awards, the BAFTAs, “Corsage” was overtaken by the scandal in mid-January, when the actor was charged, and was ultimately not retained on the list of nominees for the Oscar of the best foreign film.

In Austria, the prestigious national theater Burgtheater, where the actor was a member, announced his dismissal, while the public audiovisual group ORF undertook to no longer produce or broadcast projects with him.

Florian Teichtmeister has taken note of the court’s decision and will be placed in a specialized medical center. “I sincerely and deeply regret my actions and would like to apologize,” he said on the stand, wearing a charcoal gray suit.

Florian Teichtmeister was given a two-year suspended prison sentence.
Florian Teichtmeister was given a two-year suspended prison sentence. Lisa Leutner

Thanks to a therapy work started two years ago when the investigation was launched, he says he now understands that “behind each image, violence is hidden”.

The actor had arrived very early at the regional court, placed under heavy police surveillance in order to avoid incidents with demonstrators for the protection of children, reported Austrian media.

Prosecutor Julia Kalmar had requested a prison sentence “not to minimize such acts”. “Consumers determine the market, even if Florian Teichtmeister did not ault a child himself,” she said.

Government wants tougher penalties

The case sparked a controversy over the silence of the cultural elites of this Central European country of nine million inhabitants with a rich artistic scene.

The government has in the process proposed a revision of the Penal Code, which should be adopted by Parliament this fall, according to the Ministry of Justice.

The penalties for this type of offence, deemed “ridiculously low” by the political cl, will be increased, with a possible sentence of 10 years for the production of a “large number of representations” of a child ography nature.

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