World News

Italy's anti-discrimination chief quits after gay sex club scandal

ROME (Reuters) - The head of Italy’s anti-discrimination office resigned on Monday after accusations that government funds meant to promote diversity projects and tackle racism had been earmarked for gay sex clubs masquerading as cultural centres.

Francesco Spano quit just hours after an investigative TV programme showed his department had authorised funding of up to 55,000 euros (£46,850) each for at least three such clubs.

The TV show, called The Hyenas, visited the three businesses and found they housed male prostitutes and offered their members so-called “dark rooms” for sexual encounters.

Opposition parties called on the government to explain its funding programme, while rightist leader Giorgia Meloni said the anti-discrimination office (UNAR) should be shut immediately.

“Not one more euro of tax payers’ money should be thrown away on paying their salaries,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

The government said in a statement that while UNAR would stay open, Spano had resigned “out of respect” for the work his office was carrying out.

Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Louise Ireland