Italy's RAI bans celebs from the air for bad behavior
Is Italy’s RAI reverting to the Roman Inquisition?The country’s pubcaster recently banned three TV personalities from appearing on its shows, with the latest a “Celebrity Survivor” contestant who called Pope Benedict XVI a “homophobe” and went on to suggest that the pope could actually be gay. In the incident that made Italo headlines last week, gay novelist Aldo Busi was banned from ever appearing again on RAI after the bad-boy scribe, in parting shots while leaving the “Celebrity Survivor” camp on Nicaragua’s Big Corn Island, lashed out on live TV against Italo social mores and the pontiff who, incidentally, faces allegations of covering up sex abuse cases involving priests and young boys. A homophobe is a repressed homosexual. Someone should warn him,” Busi said. To make matters worse, Busi also blasted conservative premiere Silvio Berlusconi for failing to cut taxes. The show’s ratings hit a high with a 22% share. But Busi is only the latest Italo TV personality to become persona non grata on the pubcaster, which is Italy’s top network. Last month RAI suspended celebrity chef Beppe Bigazzi, host of its cooking show “La Prova Del Cuoco,” Italy’s version of Endemol’s “Ready Steady Cook,” after he offered a “succulent” recipe for cat stew. Who’s not fat, kills the cat,” he said. “Cat, soaked for three days in the running water of a stream, comes out with its meat white, and I assure you — I have eaten it many times — that it is a delicacy.” Animal rights groups and Italy’s deputy health minister went on a rampage. Bigazzi later said he was joking. RAI also last month banned Italo pop star Morgan, a former “X Factor” host, from competing at the Sanremo Song fest, the country’s top-rated TV event, after he revealed in an interview with a mag called Max that he used crack cocaine daily to “fight depression.” Morgan tried to backpedal by stating that “drugs are bad for you.” But RAI didn’t hear that new tune and Morgan didn’t sing at Sanremo, which many Italians, including Sanremo’s host, Antonella Clerici, found a little harsh.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more