There was a time when a Berlusconi speech might seize your attention–sometimes for the wrong reasons. But since Silvio Berlusconi relinquished the office of Italy’s Prime Minister in November 2011 much of the fun of Berlusconi’s speeches has gone.
Racist Overtones in Berlusconi Speech
Until now. But this time it’s not a speech by Silvio Berlusconi that’s hit the headlines. It’s a political speech by his younger brother, Paolo, the Vice President of leading football team AC Milan. A political speech with a racist taunt in its conclusion.
Paolo gave his speech at the inauguration of the campaign office of Fabrizio Sala who is the PDL (Popolo della Libertà) party candidate for Monza in the Lombardy region.
The PDL, founded by his brother, is getting ready to contest new elections and the Berlusconi family has much to gain from their success.
So Paolo’s speech might have proved useful…had it not gone disastrously wrong when he referred to his football team’s new £19 million player, Mario Balotelli, in derogatory racist fashion.
Whether anyone in his audience found his remarks at the end of his speech, at all funny is not clear. There were some laughs…but that might have been forced. What is clear is the immediate backlash in Italy as other politicians have sought to make political capital from the wayward speech.
It’s particularly poignant because of the racism that Balotelli encountered while playing in Italy for rival team Inter Milan. On numerous occasions he encountered racist abuse when playing in Serie A…a contributory reason for wanting to play in England.
The two Berlusconi brothers will no doubt manage to control the fallout from Paolo’s speech, as they control much of the country’s media. But the club Vice President will need to do a lot more contrite public speaking if he’s to regain the trust of his new star player.