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Italian PM Meloni and sister sue rock band and cartoonist

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Italian PM Meloni and sister sue rock band and cartoonist
Placebo lead singer Brian Molko is being sued by Italian PM Giorgia Meloni over insults uttered during a performance in Italy in mid-July. Photo by Guillaume SOUVANT / AFP

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and her sister Arianna both filed defamation lawsuits this week – the former against the lead singer of rock band Placebo, the latter against a newspaper cartoonist.

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Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy party, is suing Placebo frontman Brian Molko after he called her "racist", "fascist" and a "piece of shit" during a performance in Italy in July.

READ ALSO: Italy investigates Placebo frontman over calling Giorgia Meloni ‘fascist’

Meloni's older sister Arianna, who may run in next year's European parliament elections for Brothers of Italy according to media reports, is meanwhile suing the cartoonist for the left-wing Fatto Quotidiano daily.

Mario Natangelo published his cartoon and a partial copy of the police report on Instagram on Friday, saying he would not comment on the case.

"I prefer to let my cartoons speak for me. And my lawyers", he said.

His drawing depicts Arianna Meloni, who is also the wife of Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida, in bed with a black man.

In the cartoon, the man asks Meloni, "what about your husband?", to which she replies: "Don't worry, he spends his days out fighting ethnic replacement".

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It appeared to be a reference to comments made by Lollobrigida, a close ally of Prime Minister Meloni, in April about the "ethnic replacement" of Italians by migrants.

READ ALSO: Second Italian minister takes anti-mafia reporter Saviano to court

Brothers of Italy rose to power in elections last year on a strongly nativist, anti-immigrant platform, and Meloni has repeatedly and explicitly promoted the so-called great replacement theory, a conspiracy theory endorsed by the extreme and radical right in many countries worldwide.

Meloni has repeatedly denied accusations that Brothers of Italy is a "fascist" party, despite it being a descendent of the neofascist Italian Social Movement founded by supporters of dictator Benito Mussolini after the Second World War.

Meloni has also used Italy’s anti-defamation laws to sue prominent journalist Roberto Saviano for calling her a “bastard” in a television interview in 2020, much to the alarm of press freedom watchdogs.

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