Richard Gere, the American-born actor, and other left-wing activists have been summoned to testify in Italian court, according to a story from The Hollywood Reporter.
Salvini, Italy’s far-right interior minister and deputy prime minister, has named Gere as an instigator of a demonstration in May where several hundred people held pictures of him and his movie character, Norman Bates. During the demonstration, Salvini called for migrants to be kicked out of Italy and pressed for an end to immigration. He has also been a vocal critic of free speech at the University of Milan, where he once suggested that all suspected conservatives should receive a “drunk test” before having their privileges reviewed.
Gere had been invited to Sicily by Mario Bussi, an Italian comedian and political activist with whom he previously worked on an anti-vaxxer campaign. Bussi invited the actor to Sicily, prompting Gere to meet with migrants at a displacement camp and participate in a protest for Syrian and Afghan refugees on the island.
The Tuscan government has filed charges against Bussi and other organizers of the demonstration, claiming that Gere encouraged the gathering and showed up “commando-style.” Both, at the time, denied that they had invited Gere to Sicily or given him his picture. But a judge at a public prosecutor’s office has now ruled that the incident must be investigated. While “illegal and harmful to the public interest” is not a crime in Italy, the prosecutor believes that it raises “important questions about citizen’s public protest rights.”
Roberto Spucci, head of the association Attac, Italy’s association of former mafia bosses, is also reportedly being summoned, since his stand against Salvini’s alliance with the League has received much media attention in the run-up to the general election, according to Mediapart.
The trial is expected to begin this fall.
Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.
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