In Bologna last week ahead of regional elections, the far-right opposition leader Salvini – surrounded by cameras – buzzed the intercom of an apartment in a neighbourhood where he said he was told drugs were sold, asking the resident, who was born in Italy and is of Tunisian extraction, if it was true he was a dealer.
The widely circulated videos of Salvini sparked outrage, and Tunisia's ambassador to Italy condemned the politican's media stunt, calling it a “provocation with no respect for a private residence.”
The teenager, named as Yassin, later described being “humiliated” by the event, and said he had sought the assistance of a lawyer.
“Facebook has taken the shameful video down from Matteo Salvini's page,” said the resident's lawyer, Cathy La Torre, on her own Facebook page.
“This live video has wreaked havoc on Yassin's life,” La Torre said.
“Yassin, with no criminal record, a 17-year-old Italian, soccer player, found himself identified throughout Italy as a drug dealer,” she said.
After the event, Salvini said he did not regret his actions.
Salvini and local election candidate for the right, Lucia Borgonzoni. following election defeat in Emilia Romagna this week. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
Salvini is no stranger to provocation and drug dealing is a common refrain in his highly publicised media stunts.
Instead, the vote went in favour of the incumbant candidate of the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).
For months before Sunday's elections, Salvini had claimed that a victory for right in the region would bring about the collapse of Italy's current coalition government