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Italy state TV pulls talk show over charges of sexism

Italian state broadcaster RAI has pulled the plug on a weekly talk show after it used stereotypes against Eastern European women. Comments on the show drew anger from RAI representatives, senior politicians and viewers.

A weekly talk show on Italian state broadcaster RAI was cancelled Monday after a discussion on why Eastern European women were supposedly more attractive to Italian men included a laundry list of stereotypes against women from Eastern European states.

The show, "Parliamone…sabato" (Let's Talk About It On Saturday), included claims that Eastern European women are "all mothers, and all in perfect shape after giving birth," that "they're willing to let their man take control," and that they "forgive unfaithfulness."

Thousands of women from Eastern European nations, including Russia, Ukraine and Poland have migrated to Italy in recent decades to find work, often as domestic helpers. Many of them have married Italian men.

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RAI general manager Antonio Campo Dall'Orto said, "The contents that aired last Saturday indisputably contradict our public service mission and our editorial line," in a statement explaining the decision to end the program.

Social media backlash

The Usigrai union, which represents RAI employees, called the comments on the show a "disgusting" list "of violent, crass and humiliating clichés," adding, "as RAI women and men, we are ashamed."

The speaker of Italy's lower house of parliament, Laura Boldrini, agreed, saying, "It's unacceptable that in a television program women are presented like domestic animals to be appreciated for their meekness, obedience and subservice."

Viewers expressed their outrage using the hashtag #serviziopubblico (public utility) with stills from the now cancelled show. Italians have expressed discontent towards the broadcaster after former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi put the license fee in people's electricity bills, which makes it much more difficult to avoid paying for its services.

kbd/gsw (dpa, Reuters)

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