ROME, March 20 Italian state television RAI said
on Monday it was scrapping a popular weekly talk show after the
programme was widely attacked for using racist and sexist
stereotypes about east European women.
A furore erupted on social media and among politicians after
the programme, "Let's discuss it on Saturday" (Parliamone
Sabato) featured a debate about why Italian men had good reason
to choose east European women over Italian ones.
RAI's director general Antonio Dall'Orto said the Saturday
afternoon show "undoubtedly contradicted" RAI's values, while
Andrea Fabiano, head of the RAI 1 channel that broadcasts the
programme, offered his "sincere apologies for what happened."
Thousands of women from Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania and
other eastern European countries have migrated to Italy over the
last 20 years, often working as domestic helpers. Many have
married Italian men.
Among alleged advantages of eastern European women cited by
the show were that, unlike their Italian counterparts, they are
"always sexy and don't wear baggy pyjamas" and they "forgive
It also debated other claims such as that, unlike Italians,
they "learn how to do housework from a young age" and were
"willing to let their man take the decisions."
Several senior politicians expressed outrage at the
"It's unacceptable that in a television programme women are
presented like domestic animals to be appreciated for their
meekness, obedience and subservience," said Chamber of Deputies
speaker Laura Boldrini.
Popular discontent towards RAI has grown since a recent
reform by former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi incorporated the
licence fee in people's electricity bills, making it much harder
to avoid paying it.
(Reporting by Gavin Jones; Editing by Tom Heneghan)