Immunity granted to senator reported by a women journalist for sexist attacks

The posts in which Mario Giarrusso, formerly of the Italian Five Star political party, compared Debora Borgese to Madame De Pompadour, were judged to be uncensurable by a majority vote

OSSIGENO 5th April 2022 – Senator Mario Michele Giarrusso, indicted for libel  will not now face trial because the Italian Senate voted to deny the authorization to proceed, considering as uncensurable  the insulting expressions for which he was sued by the Catania journalist Debora Borgese. In 2017 the senator, formerly of the Italian Five Star political party had denigrated the journalist by writing on social media: “they tell me that despite the pseudo revolutionary surname a well-known venomous tongue from Catania, is the descendant of Madame De Pompadour”.

THE INCIDENT – Some social media users intervened in defence of the journalist, one for example wrote: “Only now I have I become aware of your vulgar attack on Debora, you could have avoided an attack like this”. But the insinuations against Debora Borgese continued in another comment by the Senator: “A fake follower of Robespierre and a real employee of Fratellli d’Italia (national conservative political party in Italy). Just mentioning her brings misfortunes as a friend of mine who follows her can testify. “. The Senator also published a cartoon depicting a caricature of Debora Borgese, in which the character says: “I hear the voice of Giarrusso everywhere”.

THE JOURNALIST – Debora Borgese told Ossigeno: “This attack is squalid, degrading, a real form of violence against a female journalist. Following these posts, published in 2017, I decided to sue the senator for defamation who has been sent to trial. The Italian Senate voted that he was uncensurable despite the contrary views of personas such as its former president Pietro Grasso. However, I do not stop fighting against these comments, because the insults also affect my colleagues “.

OSSIGENO expresses solidarity with Debora Borgese and all the vilified journalists and victims of sexist attacks and invites Senator Mario Giarrusso not to seek refuge behind parliamentary immunity and to apologize for having used expressions and insinuations that are not acceptable in public discourse. Ossigeno will continue to monitor and report with particular attention the sexist language and insults that target female journalists, victims both as media professionals and as women.


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