Italian TV host apologizes for gestures mimicking Asians

Entertainment

Michelle Hunziker upon her arrival at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards in Milan, Italy, on Sept. 22, 2019. Swiss-Italian TV host Michelle Hunziker apologized on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, for mimicking Asians on a satirical television program that drew wide-spread protests on social media. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

MILAN (AP) — A Swiss-Italian television host apologized Wednesday for mimicking Asians on a satirical TV program after her actions drew protests on social media.

“I am truly sorry and I apologize if I hurt anybody,’’ Michelle Hunziker said in English in a video posted on Instagram. “I realize we are in a time when people are sensitive about their rights, and I have been so naïve not to take that into consideration.”

She added: “I am the furthest thing from racist.”

Hunziker and co-host Gerry Scotti made slanted-eye gestures and mimicked an Asian accent on the TV show “Striscia la Notizia” (“The News Crawls”) aired by the private Italian network Mediaset.

In her Instagram post, Hunziker acknowledged the U.S.-based content producers behind the fashion watchdog account Diet Prada, who along with bloggers living in Italy had called out the gestures as racist.

Hunziker is married to Tomaso Trussardi, chairman of Trussardi fashion house.

Last week, a Black Lives Matters protest was held outside the Rome studios of Italy’s RAI state television over on-air racist language and the use of blackface on one show. Another round of protests targeted Hunziker and Scotti for laughing at a skit on their show that used racist language to describe African children.

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