Red Bull CEO Dietrich Mateschitz has given a rare interview to the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung, announcing his plans to found a new conservative media outlet.
In the interview, the 72-year-old billionaire harshly criticized both Germany and Austria's policies on refugees. "None of the people shouting 'refugees welcome' or 'we can do it' were preparing their own guest rooms or tents in their gardens to accommodate half a dozen migrants," he said. Mateschitz then condemned political correctness in the media, voiced his support for Donald Trump and announced plans for a news outlet called Näher an die Wahrheit (Closer To The Truth). He criticized a high-profile Belgian official for implying that "countries with homogeneous cultures should vanish from the face of the earth."
Red Bull energy drink is heavily involved with sport, arts and music. The most notable example in the music world is the Red Bull Music Academy, a global series of events, workshops and performances. RBMA alumni include Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke and Katy B.
A spokesperson from Red Bull told Artnet that the outlet will be funded by a private foundation called Quo Vadis Veritas, meaning it will operate separately from both Red Bull and his TV station, Servus TV. But Der Standard reports that the only benefactors listed in its commercial register are Mateschitz and Servus Medien GmbH, which is run by the Red Bull Media House, the company's media and publishing arm.
It's not clear whether the platform will be aligned to Mateschitz's views, though they've brought on a mix of journalists from publications like VICE and Presse, Business Insider reports. Its founding team includes Niko Alm, who notably protested a law allowing religious headgear in government-issued ID cards by registering as a "Pastafarian" and wearing a colander on his head. A few publications (Huffington Post, Business Insider) have drawn comparisons between Mateschitz's new platform and Breitbart News, the ultra-conservative website formerly run by Stephen Bannon, the Trump administration's Chief Strategist.
RA contacted the Red Bull Music Academy for a comment on how this might affect their end of the organization. "Mr. Mateschitz gave a personal interview—published April 8th," a spokesperson responded. "Our company values freedom of mind and encourages open conversation."
Michael Fleischhacker, editor-in-chief of the new platform, reached out to RA with the following statement:
"Over the past week, a non-profit foundation—Quo Vadis Veritas—was established with the purpose of launching an independent multimedia investigative journalism platform. The platform and its employees will focus on research to only offer high quality journalism. This is to enable solid grounds for rational, well-informed debate. As work on this project only began in April 2017, the organizational structure, range of topics, design and features of the platform have not yet been finalized.
Speculation that Quo Vadis Veritas will launch an ideologically motivated platform on behalf of Dietrich Mateschitz is simply wrong. The recent related coverage further demonstrates the substantial need for journalism based on facts."