Italian rapper Fedez calls out state broadcaster after 'censorship' of pro-LGBTQ+ performance

Italian broadcaster RAI faces calls to apologise after allegedly censoring rapper Fedez's condemnation of homophobia.


Italian rapper Fedez has accused Italian state broadcaster, RAI 3, of censorship after he called out the anti-LGBTQ+ League party during a televised concert on Saturday.

Fedez was one of many performers scheduled for the network’s May Day concert last weekend. As part of his performance, Fedez read out a series of anti-LGBTQ+ remarks made by League politicians and accused the party of intentionally stalling the progression of hate crime legislation. 

Prior to the concert the rapper said that he was asked by RAI 3 to present a transcript of his planned speech for review and was subsequently urged to remove specific references to League politicians. 

“The management of RAI 3 asked me to omit the names and the parties,” Fedez said on stage this Saturday. 

“I had to fight a bit, a lot, but in the end they gave me the go-ahead to express myself freely,” the rapper added. 

Afterwards the network broadcaster denied attempting to censor Fedez. In response the rapper took to Twitter, releasing a recorded call with a RAI 3 executive who can be heard asking him to withdraw his condemnation of League politicians from his performance. 

“I am asking you to adapt to a system that you probably don’t get,” the RAI 3 executive can be heard saying in the recording. 

RAI 3 has denied trying to impose censorship over Fedez, claiming that the concert had been organised by a third-party production company.

Prior to Fedez’s performance on Saturday, League politicians urged RAI 3 to withhold funding for the concert should the rapper use his set to speak out against the party. 

Though Italy approved same-sex civil unions in 2016, the country has had little success in passing further anti-homophobia legislation since then due to the intervention of the League party. 

In November, a bill drafted by Alessandro Zan, a gay politician with the Democratic party, that would make anti-LGBTQ+, ableist, and misogynistic hate speech a crime in Italy passed through the lower house of parliament. Since then, however, League politicians have stalled any further progression of the legislation, arguing that the law is not a priority and would infringe on citizens’ freedom of expression. 

In 2018, the party’s head Matteo Salvina referred to same-sex parents as “unnatural” and claimed that he was “firmly against” same-sex marriage. Fedez’s remarks at Saturday’s concert directly called out Salvini’s homophobic rhetoric as well as the League party’s continued efforts to stifle and stall pro-LGBTQ+ legislation in Italy.

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