Italian Philosopher Prosecuted for Criticizing Politician’s Views


Donatella Di Cesare, a professor of philosophy at Sapienza University (Rome), has been charged with “criminal defamation” for describing a politician’s views as “neo-Hitlerite.”

According to Times Higher Education:

The charges against Professor Di Cesare stem from April 2023, when the agriculture minister Francesco Lollobrigida, the brother-in-law of [Prime Minister Giorgia] Meloni and a staunch political ally, said in a public speech on migration, “We cannot surrender to the idea of ethnic replacement.” The phrase “ethnic replacement” is strongly associated with the “great replacement theory”, a racist conspiracy that white Europeans are being deliberately “replaced” by migrants of colour, often from Muslim-majority countries, in a plot led by Jewish people…

Professor Di Cesare, who has published extensively on antisemitism, racism and conspiracy theories, was subsequently asked about the comments during an appearance on the talk show DiMartedì. She described the concept of “ethnic replacement” as a “conspiracist myth” and “the heart of Hitlerism”, noting its presence in Nazi ideology that led to the Holocaust.

“I believe that the minister’s words cannot be taken as a gaffe, because he spoke like a Gauleiter, like a neo-Hitlerite governor,” she added.

Professor Di Cesare was indicted earlier this month, telling Times Higher Education that Mr Lollobrigida accused her of wanting to “defame both the Italian government and his family”. The first hearing will take place on 15 May.

Further details here.

UPDATE (5/6/24): The Guardian reports on the story.

 

 

 

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vbet giriş
27 days ago

It’s concerning to see Professor Donatella Di Cesare face charges for her critical analysis of a politician’s speech. Her expertise in antisemitism and conspiracy theories gives weight to her interpretation of the remarks as echoing dangerous ideologies. Engaging in open discourse is essential for a healthy democracy, and prosecuting academics for expressing their views threatens this fundamental principle.

Wesley Russell
Wesley Russell
27 days ago

Professor Di Cesare has spoken what she believes to be true.
The fact that the government are taking her to court over what she believes to be true is proof enough for me to say that the Professor has offended their ego with truth. They cannot handle the truth so Instead they use fear to control what others believe.
It seems the Italian government and His family want to control what people think and believe to be true by inducing fear to those who do not think and believe in what the government wants them to think and believe in.
Is that not a dictatorship ?

Wolfgang Walter
Wolfgang Walter
27 days ago

It’s an indictment, not a sentence

Craig Burley
Craig Burley
Reply to  Wolfgang Walter
27 days ago

Did this sound smarter in your head, I hope so. An indictment is obviously a crushing blow for an academic in mid career, not least financially.

Laura
Reply to  Wolfgang Walter
27 days ago

Regardless it’s wrong and terrifying. I would like to see our APA more active in public support for philosophers trying to defend themselves against this type of hostility. I was hoping they would come out with a news release or public statement in support of Professor Noëlle McAfee as well.