• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'If Berlusconi was gay, nobody would touch him'

AFP · 19 Sep 2013, 18:21

Published: 19 Sep 2013 18:21 GMT+02:00

"Berlusconi is on trial for living with women, but if he were a homosexual, nobody would dare touch him," Putin said during a discussion with
international experts and journalists at the Valdai Club in the northwestern Novgorod region.

The remark was met by roars of laughter from the audience.

Berlusconi, 76, is appealing a conviction for having sex with an underage prostitute nicknamed Ruby the Heart Stealer.

The Valdai forum is a discussion organised annually by Russia's state news agency RIA Novosti that invites various foreign speakers to discuss Russia.

Putin has come under fire for his anti-gay stance since he signed a controversial "gay propaganda" law in June that bans disseminating information
about homosexuality to minors.

Outrage in the West has also led to calls to boycott the Winter Olympics in Russia's Sochi resort next year.

Putin frequently defends "traditional" values and said at the Valdai club that Western countries had forgotten their Christian roots and were "denying
moral principles and traditional identities," including in "sexual" matters.

The Russian president is known to be friends with Berlusconi, who has flown in to Russia for several of Putin's birthdays and to celebrate his victory in presidential polls last year.

Story continues below…

The former Italian prime minister has also been accused of homophobia.

"I am always working flat out and sometimes I look at beautiful women...It's better to be passionate about beautiful women than to be gay."

Berlusconi said in the midst of the sex scandal in 2010.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How these star-crossed lovers met their Italian Romeos
Holly and Gianluca on their wedding day in Capri.

How these star-crossed lovers met their Italian Romeos
18 hours ago

And none of them met online...

Church told to butt out of Italian gay unions debate
Matteo Renzi has told the church to stop meddling in Italy's gay unions debate. Photo: Fillipo Monteforte / AFP

Church told to butt out of Italian gay unions debate
18 hours ago

Matteo Renzi slams Church for pushing secret vote on gay unions.

Italy-Egypt friendship on line as slain student is buried
A tribute in Cairo to murdered student Giulio Regeni. Photo: Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP

Italy-Egypt friendship on line as slain student is buried
19 hours ago

Many Italian believe he was killed by elements of the Egyptian security services.

How this tiny Italian town opened its homes to refugees
File photo: Refugees rescued from the Mediterranean disembark in Pozzallo, Sicily. Photo Giovanni Isolino/AFP

How this tiny Italian town opened its homes to refugees
20 hours ago

Instead of letting them languish in state-run reception centres, these Italians are welcoming refugees into their own homes.

Italian police sentenced for sleeping on the job
Photo: Nunzio Mari/AFP

Italian police sentenced for sleeping on the job
21 hours ago

The 22 officers were from Italy's flying squad...a police branch which is supposed to be particularly on the ball.

Slowdown gives Italy two trillion reasons to worry
Matteo Renzi has regularly derided what he sees as the EU's misplaced emphasis on 'austerity'. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Slowdown gives Italy two trillion reasons to worry
22 hours ago

Italy is still struggling to recover from its longest recession since the Second World War.

Science
Italy boffins pivotal in opening new window on universe
Scientists confirmed the existence of gravitational waves on Thursday. Photo: Ligo

Italy boffins pivotal in opening new window on universe
1 day ago

A group of scientists working in Pisa got a congratulatory phone-call from premier Matteo Renzi for their role in the discovery of gravitational waves.

The Local list
Tourist types you'll meet in Italy: which one are you?
Photo: Luca Sartoni

Tourist types you'll meet in Italy: which one are you?
1 day ago

So are you the sort that "pushes" the Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Italy probes five Google managers over tax evasion
The five managers allegedly failed to declare income and evaded tax. Photo: Justin Sullivan/AFP

Italy probes five Google managers over tax evasion
1 day ago

The tech giant allegedly owes Italy over €227 million.

Toby the reject dog wants you to mend his broken heart
Toby the dog. Photo: Canile di Varese

Toby the reject dog wants you to mend his broken heart
1 day ago

He needs €2,500.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
Features
Busted: five pernicious myths about dating an Italian
National
Italian war prisoner's letter delivered after 72 years
Pilgrims loot Rome homes 'to pay for Padre Pio trip'
National
Raffaele Sollecito creates a social network for the dead
Seventy hurt by flying oranges in Italy's crazy fruit fight
How Under the Tuscan Sun changed a small Italian town
National
Ten things to do in Italy in February
Ten fantastic holidays for Italy-loving foodies
5,000 migrant kids vanished in Italy: but where are they?
National
What you need to know about Italy's new smoking laws
Politics
Why Italy's scrapping to be let into Europe's big boys' club
International
US museum gives Italy back looted head of Greek statue
National
Why Italy has no choice but to pass gay civil unions bill
National
Rome's nude statues covered to spare Rouhani's blushes
National
Thousands march in Italy for gay rights
National
Meet Dante Alighieri's stargazing Italian descendant
National
Why are tourists turning away from Rome?
Culture
Ten wonderfully quirky Italian animal-related idioms
Society
Italy chills out over medical cannabis cultivators
National
Italy gay unions face defeat as left-wing Catholics rebel
National
Bronze Age village found near ancient Roman city
3,280
jobs available