Few things are better than when a sexy Italian is on your side in a battle for gay rights. And when that sexy Italian is a mega-star, and straight, it captures headlines not just in his native Italy, but around the world.
Such is the case when on May 1st during a live televised concert on Italian state-owned television Rai, rap superstar Fedez began speaking in favor of more rights for Italy’s LGBTQ and denouncing the homophobia of the country’s powerful (Northern) League political party. His prepared remarks were soon cut from the broadcast, which Rai claimed was because they were political in nature.
After subsequently denying they deliberately cut-off Fedez’s remarks, the rapper produced a recording of a prior phone call with a Rai executive who had demanded to read Fedez’s statement in advance. Fedez shared his proof on his Twitter feed, which immediately created a maelstrom in the Italian media and political universe.
A proposed law to enhance protections for gays similar to other countries’ hate crimes laws is currently being considered in the Italian parliament, but is being blocked by the ultra-right wing League party. The spokesman of the country’s LGBTQ political party, Fabrizio Marrazzo, came out in support of Fedez’s remarks and denounced the censorship by the television broadcaster, saying that “the phone call from Rai3 executives to Fedez is disconcerting, the Rai Supervisory Authority intervenes against censorship: civil rights and respect for LGBT people are never ”inappropriate “.”
Each year there are hundreds of hate crime reports reported but rarely get any traction with criminal prosecution. Most recently, an attack in February against a gay couple who kissed at a metro station in Rome generated outrage and raised the urgency for the approval of the law. In April, Fedez and other celebrities contributed to a fundraising initiative for a 22-year-old woman who was thrown out of her home after telling her parents she was in a relationship with another woman.
The proposed bill, drafted by Alessandro Zan, a gay politician with the Democratic party, would make violence and hate speech against LGBTQ+ and disabled people, as well a misogyny, a crime, with jail terms of up to 18 months and fines of up to €6,000 ($7,200).
Fedez is married to an influencer and together they have two young children.