Smiling H1 - 1920 x 116
Smiling H1 - 1920 x 116
Smiling H1 - 1920 x 116
Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

Italy culture official under fire for sexist rant at Rome museum

Sgarbi faces calls to resign after outburst at museum event.

A prominent Italian politician and art critic is facing calls to resign over a vulgar outburst during a cultural event at the MAXXI national museum of contemporary art in Rome.

Vittorio Sgarbi, a junior culture minister in the right-wing government of Giorgia Meloni, was filmed delivering a foul-mouthed rant in praise of the penis as well as boasting about his sexual conquests with women.

The event, which also featured the singer Morgan, took place at MAXXI on 21 June but footage of Sgarbi's outburst only came to light in recent days.

At the weekend La Repubblica newspaper published an open letter addressed to MAXXI president Alessandro Giuli, signed by 43 of the museum's 49 employees, mostly women.

The letter criticised Sgarbi's vulgar remarks, stating that "they in no way coincide with the values that have always distinguished our work within this institution".

Culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano intervened in the matter, stating that while freedom of expression must be guaranteed, sexism and foul language is "always inadmissible in every context and even more in a place of culture and by those who represent institutions."

In an interview on Italian television on Sunday, MAXXI president Giuli apologised to the museum's employees whose "discomfort" he shared, and to "all the people who have felt legitimately offended by an evening that should have taken a different track."

Giuli said he fully endorsed the words of Sangiuliano, underlining that foul language and sexism cannot have any place "in public discourse and in particular in places of culture".

Known for his controversial outbursts on television and on social media, Sgarbi, 71, told news agency ANSA that he agreed with Sangiuliano's position "word for word".

However he defended his actions by insisting that he was performing "in a show", rather than appearing in his role as culture undersecretary, and claims he is the victim of "censorship".

Ambrit 724 x 450
Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
Marymount - International School Rome
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