Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has ended her long-term relationship with Andrea Giambruno over comments he made that were broadcast on Italian TV.
Meloni broke up with Giambruno after he made lewd remarks to several women. Those remarks were recorded, unbeknown to him, and then broadcast.
Comments include him saying to a female colleague: “Can I touch my balls while I talk to you?” and “Do you have a boyfriend?”. When she answers in the affirmative, he asks if she is open to new relationships.
Giambruno hosts a news show aired by commercial broadcaster Mediaset, which is owned by the heirs of the late Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s former prime minister who died in June.
The satirical TV programme called Striscia la notizia, from the same broadcaster, aired the Giambruno footage.
He was also caught asking another woman if she knew he’d had an affair with someone else. “The whole of Mediaset already knows that, now you know it too,” he says proudly.
“But we are looking for a third one, for a threesome or a foursome. Do you want to join the group? Do you want to work in the group? Then you have to do something in return,” he adds, laughing.
The woman replies that if his remarks were recorded and broadcast, he would get into trouble. To this he responds: “But then what did I say? We are laughing and enjoying ourselves, we have a pandemic behind us.”
The whole saga came as a new embarrassment for Meloni, who campaigned on traditional values. She was not married to Giambruno but he had already caused her problems with politically incorrect statements. His vulgar flirtations appear to have been the final straw.
“My relationship with Andrea Giambruno, which lasted almost 10 years, ends here,” Meloni wrote on social media.
“I thank him for the wonderful years we spent together, for the difficulties we went through, and for having given me the most important thing in my life, which is our daughter Ginevra.
“Our paths have long since parted, and the time has come to take note. I will defend what we were, I will defend our friendship, and I will defend, at all costs, a seven-year-old girl who loves her mother and loves her father, as I could not love mine.
“I have nothing more to say on this.”
Although she did add a telling political end note: “Ps. All those who hoped to weaken me by hitting me in my personal life should know that however much the drop may hope to carve the stone, the stone remains stone and the drop is only water.”
La mia relazione con Andrea Giambruno, durata quasi dieci anni, finisce qui. Lo ringrazio per gli anni splendidi che abbiamo trascorso insieme, per le difficoltà che abbiamo attraversato, e per avermi regalato la cosa più importante della mia vita, che è nostra figlia Ginevra.… pic.twitter.com/1IpvfN8MgA
— Giorgia Meloni (@GiorgiaMeloni) October 20, 2023
Despite the break-up being a personal, albeit publicly broadcast affair, most members across party lines are being supportive of Meloni.
A message from Alessandra Moretti, an MEP from the left-wing Democratic Party, read: “Love for our children makes us the strong rocks we are and helps us make the best choices. The reason for everything is there. A hug to Giorgia Meloni, who acted as a free woman in a difficult moment. Now they should let her be a mother.”
Ettore Rosato, also from the Democratic Party, wrote: “Solidarity and understanding, that’s all.”
In August, Giambruno caused a stir when he said young Italian women who go out at night and get drunk are leaving themselves vulnerable to rape. Newspapers accused him of victim blaming.
“If you go out dancing, you have every right to get drunk – there should be no kind of misunderstanding or impediment to this – but if you can avoid getting drunk and losing consciousness, maybe you will avoid ending up in serious situations in which the wolf will find you,” he said while anchoring his television show.
The remarks were made after a series of extreme sexual assaults and gang rapes of young women.
Giambruno claimed his statements had been misconstrued and that he was perplexed by the issue. He underlined that he had explicitly called rape “deplorable” and rapists “beasts”.