Italy's anti-discrimination head quits over gay sex scandal

Local television show claims UNAR had been funding 'cultural' associations which hosted gay sex parties


Afp February 21, 2017
PHOTO: AFP

ROME: The head of Italy's anti-discrimination office has resigned following revelations that government funds for combating sexual discrimination had been allocated to clubs offering gay sex services.

Francesco Spano's resignation late Monday followed a report by popular television show Le Iene that set off a media storm, claiming the National Office against Racial Discrimination (UNAR) had been funding 'cultural' associations which hosted gay sex parties.

UNAR Head Spano, who was responsible for allocating taxpayers' money to the associations, quit 'out of respect' for the work his office performed, the government said in a statement.

While on Tuesday he insisted the funds had been allocated in 2016 but not issued and an immediate stop had been put to the programme.

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ANDDOS, the National Association Against Sexual Discrimination, which runs hundreds of homosexual clubs across Italy, had been set to receive 55,000 euros, said a local Italian newspaper.

Explicit undercover images broadcast on Sunday by Le Iene showed men using a 'dark room', designed for those who want to engage in sexual activity with strangers, while the reporter was offered sexual services in return for money in three of these clubs.

Spano told La Repubblica on Tuesday that his resignation was 'not an admission of guilt', though he could not explain why he was listed as a member of one of the clubs.

The association was supposed to "provide for the creation of support centres for victims of homophobic violence," he told Corriere della Sera.

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Italian consumer association Codacons on Monday demanded Rome prosecutors launch an investigation into the use of public funds by UNAR, which reports to the government's equal opportunities department.

"It is difficult to imagine that 'positive action' [against discrimination] could include in any fashion activities which include sexual services," it said in the request for a probe.

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