Twitter on Tuesday removed the video of an alleged rape that far-right politician Giorgia Meloni had shared on her channel. The blurred video, taken from an apartment building window, is said to show a Ukrainian woman being attacked and raped on the street in the northern Italian city of Piacenza.
Police are currently investigating the incident and have confirmed the arrest of a suspect. However, the investigations are still ongoing. According to Italian media reports, a 27 year-old refugee from Guinea was arrested in the case.
Right-wing populist top candidate Meloni tweeted the video, which was originally published on a newspaper website, late Sunday. She wrote that she could not remain silent in the face of “this cruel episode of sexual violence”.
Meloni is the leader of the post-fascist Fratelli d’Italia (FdI) party and is parading alongside her right-wing allies of the election on 11. September polls. She could emerge from the vote as Italy’s first female prime minister. (Read more about Meloni and her party’s neo-fascist roots here.)
No exception for Meloni
Meloni’s post was taken down by social media on Tuesday morning Removed Twitter platform and replaced it with a note. “This tweet violates the Twitter Rules.” Twitter did not specify which rules were violated.
In the past, the company has repeatedly left content from top politicians online, even if they violated the rules of the platform, but at the same time it was in the interests of public debate that the content remained available. This exemption, which was applied to posts by Donald Trump, does not appear to have played a role for Twitter in the current case.
Politicians condemn posting without the consent of the victim
Other politicians strongly condemned Meloni for distributing the video and accused her of aggravating the victim’s suffering by making the video public without consent.
The top candidate of the social-democratic Partito Democratico (PD), Enrico Letta, said, for example, that Meloni’s publication of the video “went beyond the limits of dignity and decency«. Former Minister of Education Lucia Azzolina spoke of an “instrumentalization of violence”.
Distribution of the video is being investigated
The Italian authorities are investigating how the video was released. “The distribution of the videos of the criminal incident is being thoroughly investigated,” said Piacenza prosecutor Grazia Pradella.
The State Data Protection Agency said it is also investigating “possible responsibilities of individuals who view the video for various reasons and for various purposes published«.