A video featuring a pizzaiolo coughing and spitting on a “pizza corona” was broadcast on French satirical show Groland, sparking outrage across the Italian peninsula and forcing the TV channel Canal + to publicly apologise. EURACTIV’s partner Ouest-France reports.
Making fun of one of Italy’s most famous dishes, pizza, in the midst of what could become a coronavirus pandemic? Scandalous.
The satirical video broadcast on TV channel Canal + provoked indignation among Italians on Tuesday (3 March), prompting the French TV channel to apologise.
The video, which has been rebroadcast by Italian media with the following message: “Warning, the following images could offend your sensibility”, features a pizzaiolo coughing and spitting green mucus on a pizza coming out of the oven.
“The ‘Corona pizza’, the new Italian pizza that will go around the world,” were the words of the clip’s voice-over.
Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio called this a tasteless and unacceptable false advertisement.
79 dead in Italy
With 79 deaths and just over 2,500 people infected, Italy is the EU member state that is currently the most impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Countries such as France and the UK have reported cases of contagion which have been directly linked to people travelling to the Italian peninsula or coming in contact with Italians on their soil.
“I understand the satire but making fun of Italians in this way, with the coronavirus emergency we are facing, is deeply disrespectful,” Di Maio said on Facebook.
Italian Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova called the video “shameful and horrible”.
“I have activated the diplomatic channels to report the broadcast content, I am waiting for Canal + to remove it immediately and apologise,” the minister added.
It didn’t take long for the minister to be heard.
“Canal + apologises to our Italian friends following the broadcast of a short sequence in very bad taste, especially in the current context, by making a caricatured reference to Italy in a satirical programme,” explained a Canal + spokeswoman, contacted by AFP.
“The controversial clip has already been removed from all reruns and replays of the channel. Canal + is sending a letter of apology this afternoon to the Italian ambassador in Paris,” the spokeswoman added.