Italian rap artist Fedez made headlines this weekend over accusations that Italian television censors tried to block remarks in support of the LGBTQ community.
ABC News reports that Fedez, 31, made the comments during a concert on Saturday (May 1) which aired on RAI state television. Fedez now claims that officials for the network demanded to approve any political remarks he made in advance. Fedez claims he refused, and called out members of Italy’s right-leaning League party with a history of making homophobic remarks.
Fedez made the speech in support of the so-called Zan Law, which would add women, disabled and queer people to Italy’s list of protected classes. In essence, the law would make discrimination on the basis of disability, gender or sexual orientation illegal, and would also extend hate crime protections to those groups.
RAI has denied pressuring Fedez to scrub any remarks in support of Zan Law, or demanding to approve any political remarks in advance. Fedez has rebutted those claims by releasing a recorded phone call with an RAI executive who warned that making any remarks in support of the law, or naming any politicians with a history of homophobia would be “inappropriate.”
The head of RAI has promised an investigation into the matter.
Pro-queer politicians and activists in Italy welcomed Fedez’s remarks. Gabriele Piazzoni, president of the pro-queer activist group Arcigay praised Fedez, saying he “gave voice to millions of us.” Fabrizio Marrazzo, head of the nation’s “Gay Party,” also lauded the move. “Thanks Fedez,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “Because it is also and above all thanks to influential people like you that we will be able to open the eyes of those who have still covered them with a veil of hatred.”
At present, LGBTQ Italians enjoy some anti-discrimination protections under the law in some provinces of the nation. Same-sex marriage remains illegal, and the ability for same-sex parents to adopt or have children through surrogacy remains illegal in some areas.