Italian soccer commentator suspended from TV role over Mussolini tattoo

Ruth Ellen Gruber

ROME (JTA) – A former Italian soccer player known for his pro-fascist views has been suspended as a TV commentator after displaying a tattoo on air referring to Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

The satellite channel Sky Sports Italia suspended Paolo Di Canio after he appeared on camera while reporting on a match Sunday wearing a short-sleeved shirt that allowed the tattoo on his arm reading “DUX” to be seen. “Dux,” the Latin term for leader, is the origin of the Italian term “Il Duce” – which was the title chosen by Mussolini, who ruled Italy for two decades and was an ally of Adolf Hitler.

The incident touched off a storm of protest from viewers and on social media.

“We made a mistake,” said Sky Italia Sports and Sky Media executive vice president Jacques Raynaud. “We apologize to all those whose sensibilities were hurt. After a long talk with Di Canio, despite his professionalism and football expertise, together we decided to suspend his collaboration.”

ADVERTISEMENT
New Mt. Sinai Cemetery advertisement

Di Canio, who has sported the tattoo for well over a decade, has long been known for his pro-fascist views. In 2005 he was fined twice and suspended for giving the straight-armed salute after matches.

He told the Italian ANSA news agency that he was a “fascist not a racist.” After a meeting with Holocaust survivors in early 2006 he reiterated his pro-fascist views but said he recognized that Italy’s wartime anti-Semitic persecutions had been unjust and “terrible.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)