Gerry Scotti and Michelle Hunziker, hosts of the satirical show “Striscia la Notizia,” are facing backlash online for making the slanted-eye gesture and mocking the Chinese accent in an episode on Monday.
The incident started with Hunziker mocking how Chinese people pronounce the letter “r” with an “l” sound while introducing a segment on the Italian broadcasting company RAI’s headquarters in Beijing, according to Diet_Prada.
Scotti and his co-host then pulled the side of their eyes as Hunziker spoke in gibberish.
“Striscia la Notizia” also reportedly made fun of Black people in a segment in March. Harper’s Bazaar writer Louis Pisano called out the show on Twitter for making fun of Black children by calling them “N****r Babies” twice and telling them to “Go to Congo.”
Pisano described the recent racist gesture on the show as a “sickness,” and called Scotti and Hunziker “rotted from the inside out.”
“It’s so disturbing that these people continue to be on the forefront of the Italian mainstream media, watching by millions, millions who are influenced and informed by this behavior and in turn go out into the world and perpetuate it,” Pisano said.
Last week, Goovi, an Italian cosmetic company co-founded by Hunziker, posted a statement condemning the use of discriminatory terms.
“The whole Goovi team, along with Michelle Hunziker, condemns and distances itself from the use of discriminatory terms,” the company said in the statement.
“Inclusiveness, equality and respect for diversity are very important values for us from day one, values in which each of us believes and which we want to convey in every post, in every product and in every image and initiative we give life,” it added. “The Goovi community is free to express itself freely on our pages: we are proud that it is a free space for discussion, but we reiterate that we dissociate ourselves from any form of discrimination.”
“Know that we listen to you and will continue to do so. Team Goovi and Michelle.”
Scotti, a former member of the Italian parliament, and Hunziker, a Swiss-Italian actress/model, are well-known public figures who stood by LGBTQ and women’s rights. Hunziker is also vocal against women’s abuse issues after having reportedly been lured into a cult in 2017, where she experienced brainwashing and mental abuse.
“Striscia la Notizia” airs on Canale 5, which is owned by right-wing mass media company Mediaset.
Social media users have called out the hosts for their behavior.
“The fact that they are so comfortable to do this on live TV as well as ‘joke’ with each other back and forth with continuous laughter, shows that they have done this many times and that is a racist environment because nobody is stopping it,” one commenter wrote.
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