Italy: Bocelli says sorry for covid-19 comments

Andrea Bocelli extends "sincere apology" for expressing doubts about the seriousness of the covid-19 crisis in Italy.

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli has apologised for the controversial and widely-reported remarks he made about covid-19 at a conference in the senate in Rome on 27 July.

Bocelli had said that he felt "humiliated and offended" by the nationwide lockdown due to the country's covid-19 crisis, apparently urging people to disobey the rules.

The blind tenor caused particular anger in Italy by saying that he didn't believe the pandemic was as bad as the Italian government claimed because he did not personally know anyone admitted to intensive care due to the virus.

On 29 July, with no signs of the controversy calming down, Bocelli released a video in which he asked forgiveness for any suffering, extending his "sincere apologies," and saying "it was not my intention to offend those who have been struck by COVID.”

Bocelli's apology followed two days of outrage on social media, with a Twitter hashtag #BocelliVergognati (Shame on you, Bocelli) going viral.

The 61-year-old tenor also earned the criticism of healthcare workers across Italy where more than 35,000 people have died from the coronavirus.

One commentator on social media reflected the general feeling in Italy by pointing out that the superstar was fortunate enough to spend the lockdown “in your massive villa and not have anyone in your family die.”

Bocelli's original comments came as a surprise to Italians after he became a symbol of national unity at the height of the lockdown when he sang in an empty Milan Duomo during a live-streamed Easter solo performance called Music for Hope, watched by an estimated three million people around the world.

“To all those people who felt offended or suffered because of how I expressed myself – undoubtedly not in the best possible way – and the words I used, I ask that they accept my sincerest apologies, as my intention was quite the opposite,” Bocelli said in his apology.

Photo credit: RemotePhotoPress / Shutterstock.com.

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Wanted in Rome is a monthly magazine in English for expatriates in Rome established in 1985. The magazine covers Rome news stories that may be of interest to English and Italian speaking residents, and tourists as well. The publication also offers classifieds, photos, information on events, museums, churches, galleries, exhibits, fashion, food, and local travel.
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