‘I don’t have a penis counter, but I slept with 12 women a month, so 1,500 women minimum’: Italian minister sparks outrage with his vulgar language and sex boasts at art event
- Vittorio Sgarbi was speaking at an event in Rome, at the city’s MAXXI art gallery
- The 71-year-old stunned the audience by answering his phone while on stage and using derogatory terms for women, while bragging about his sexual prowess
A sex-crazed Italian minister has been called on to resign after he made the claim he has slept with 1,500 women and sparked outrage by using misogynistic language during an event at an art gallery.
Vittorio Sgarbi – a junior culture minister in the government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, stunned attendees at an event in Rome when he used a derogatory term in reference to women and praised his own penis.
While the event at the Italian capital’s MAXXI national museum of contemporary art was held last month, footage of Sgarbi’s comments have only just emerged.
The 71-year-old – who is a well-known controversial art critic – has dated a series of adult film stars, and was a friend of the late Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi – known for his ‘Bunga Bunga parties’ – who died last month at the age of 86.
In the video, he is seen sitting on stage and heard bragging that he had slept with ‘nine [women] a month’ and praising his penis as an ‘organ of knowledge’ – but admitted he didn’t know the exact number as he doesn’t have a ‘penis counter’.
Vittorio Sgarbi (pictured) – a junior culture minister in the government of Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, stunned attendees at an event in Rome when he used a derogatory term in reference to women and praised his own penis
‘At one point he [French author Houllebecq] told me there is a time in life when we know only one organ: the d*ck,’ he said, addressing fellow speaker and Italian rock singer Morgan, and the gallery’s president Alessandro Giuli.
‘The d*ck is an organ of knowledge, that is of penetration, it serves to [make us] understand,’ he told the crowd.
The June 21 event was to mark the MAXXI art gallery’s summer opening.
At one point, Sgarbi took a phone call on stage and barked: ‘Who the f*** is this?’
He called whoever he was speaking to a ‘cuckold’ and bragged about how many women he had bedded to the person over the phone.
The junior minister also claimed that Berlusconi, who had died little more than a week before the event, had slept with ‘fewer than 100 women’ in his life – something which Sgarbi described as a ‘tragedy’.
At one point, the controversial critic launched into a tirade about a conversation he said he had shared with French novelist Michel Houellebecq.
‘At a certain point, turning 67, the prostate appears and you have to deal with this f**king b**ch w*ore you’ve never met in your life,’ he said.
‘The c*ck goes away and the prostate comes.’
Morgan asked Sgarbi: ‘how many women you’ve slept with?’
Sgarbi answered: ‘I don’t have a penis counter, so I don’t know, but I can answer you like the great Califano (Italian lyricist), and I can estimate an average of three a month and when I was active it was even nine or twelve a month.
‘So it adds up to 1,500, minimum,’ he claimed.
Vittorio Sgarbi attends the state funeral of Silvio Berlusconi in Milan, July 14
A 45-minute video of the minister’s comments was circulated in several reports in Italian media, including the newspaper La Repubblica.
The publication reported that a letter had been signed by 44 of the MAXXI gallery’s 49 (mostly female) employees, in which they urged its president to defend its values.
The La Repubblica report then prompted criticism from Italian politicians, with Italy’s Five Star opposition party calling for his resignation from government.
They said his comments were ‘serious and sexist’ while centrist political leader Carlo Calenda called Sgarbi a ‘disgrace’.
‘If your aim was to épater le bourgeois [impress the bourgeois] you’ve picked the wrong century,’ Calenda said. ‘You don’t shock us, you bore us.’
One prominent film director and author, Cristina Comencini, who was set to speak at MAXXI on July 4, said she would no longer do so, citing the minister’s comments and ‘the way he spoke about women’.
Gennaro Sangiuliano, the Italian culture minister, said he has written to the Rome gallery asking for details about his junior minister’s appearance, adding that there was no room for any form of ‘vulgarity’ in the venue.
Sangiuliano said sexism and profanity are ‘inadmissible in all contexts’, particularly ‘in a cultural space and from someone who represents institutions.’
He said that ‘freedom of thought, protected by our constitution, is sacrosanct but must never lapse into vulgarity.’
‘Respect for women is a constant in my life,’ he added.
It is understood that Sgarbi is in an ‘open relationship’ with 50-year-old actress and model, Sabrina Colle, that has been on-going since 1998
For his part, Sgarbi has doubled down on his comments and refused to resign.
He has complained that his critics were left-wingers trying to have him cancelled, saying that he was merely quoting French novelist Michel Houellebecq in his praise for his penis.
In a later interview with La Repubblica, he pointed to Mozart’s love of toilet humour, and sarcastically declared: ‘Let’s censor Mozart.’
He claimed his outburst was a ‘show between two actors’. ‘Morgan asked me how many women I’d had, and I answered,’ he stated. ‘It’s freedom of speech.’
Asked whether he would resign, he told the publication that demanding his resignation over the matter would be ‘censorship, true fascism.’
It is understood that Sgarbi is in an ‘open relationship’ with 50-year-old actress and model, Sabrina Colle, that has been on-going since 1998.
He is somewhat of a celebrity in Italy himself, and has been the mayor of several towns. He is currently the Mayor of Arpino, in the Lazio region.
In 2012, he was removed as the Mayor of the Sicilian town of Salemi after he failed to acknowledge Mafia interference in his cabinet.
The 71-year-old (left) – who is a well-known art critic – has dated a series of adult film stars, and was a friend of the late Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi (right) – known for his ‘Bunga Bunga parties’ – who died last month at the age of 86
Sgarbi has praised Berlusconi’s legacy as the longest-serving post-war Italian premier, which critics say heralded in a new era of sleazy politics.
He has said ‘without Berlusconi today, we would not have Giorgia Meloni’ – who is the first ever women to hold the position of Italy’s Prime Minister.
Berlusconi died in June, and is remembered as a media tycoon and billionaire, but also for his string of scandals – including over his ‘Bunga Bunga’ sex parties.
He was once charged and convicted of paying for sex with a 17-year-old girls, Moroccon exotic dancer Karima El-Mahroug, but was eventually acquitted.
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