Silvio Berlusconi was asked recently for his opinion on climate activist Greta Thunberg – the former Italian Prime Minister responded with a joke about Swedish women and Viagra.
Italian journalist Alessandro Sallusti queried Berlusconi on the 16-year-old Swede during the IdeeItalia convention in Milan last week, according to multiple reports.
Instead of directly answering Sallusti’s question, the Forza Italia party leader launched into a risqué anecdote about a “friend” who sees a pharmacist to obtain multiple doses of Viagra because he’s planning on spending three days bedding three different Swedish women.
In Berlusconi’s telling, the pharmacist gives the man placebo pills and then sees him again on Monday morning waiting in line at the pharmacy.
The pharmacist asks the man how he had fared over the weekend.
There is perhaps something lost in translation with the punchline, which Berlusconi delivered to roars of laughter from his Italian audience: “I looked like an ass!”
“Greta is certainly not comparable to the girls in the joke,” he clarified, apparently anticipating allegations that he was sexualizing the 16-year-old Swede.
“I think she’s being used,” Berlusconi added. “Her approach is not the best way. She proposes that the development of developed countries be stopped and that is not possible.”
Commenters on social media slammed the Italian politician for the off-color joke.
He is a sick and disgusting shriveled up misogynistic pig.
— Milenaac (@milenaac) October 15, 2019
“Still showing, after all these years, how he paved the way for Trump,” tweeted Tom Kington, Italy correspondent for the Times UK.
Many Italian commenters on Twitter were similarly critical.
“PATHETIC,” tweeted one commenter.
PATETICO questo povero vecchio,qualcuno dei figli abbia il coraggio di dirglielo.
— claudio tonon (@ClaudioTonon) October 13, 2019
Sex with teenagers contributed to Berlusconi’s ouster from the premiership in 2011 after it emerged that a young nightclub dancer was a regular guest at his private parties, where female guests performed stripteases dressed as nuns. Judges acquitted Berlusconi on charges of paying her for sex when she was 17 year old on the grounds that he had no idea.
Berlusconi isn’t the only foreign figure with a mouthpiece to make dicey remarks in relation to Greta Thunberg
Last month, a Brazilian radio host was fired after he recently said Thunberg “needs sex” and is “unloved.”
Gustavo Negreiros made the remarks during a local radio broadcast.
“She is unloved. If she also doesn’t like men, let her get a woman if she’s a lesbian. She needs sex. She’s an unloved hysteric, ” Negreiros said, according to Brazilian outlet Veja.
Negreiros, who formerly hosted “96 Minutes” on 96FM, was fired just days after making the comments.