Sabato, 20 Aprile 2019
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Rufus Wainright appearance at Sanremo called 'blasphemous'


Sanremo, February 17 - Controversy swirled Monday
around a scheduled performance by singer-songwriter Rufus
Wainright next week at Sanremo, an Italian song competition and
televised prime-time entertainment extravaganza.
The Catholic youth organization Papaboys (the pope's boys)
announced they are leading a demonstration by various groups
next Monday against State broadcaster RAI and the Sanremo
Festival for inviting the openly gay American-Canadian artist to
perform, Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano reported on
The Papaboys accused Wainwright of being "blasphemous" for
his song Gay Messiah, about the arrival of a homosexual messiah.
The Papaboys called for the "intervention or resignation"
of RAI management.
On Monday, RAI board member Antonio Verro weighed in on the
side of Catholic sensibilities, saying, "We do not understand
why the stage of the Sanremo Festival should offer visibility to
an artist, like Rufus Wainwright, exclusively noted for the
blasphemous tone of his songs".
"Public service television should not focus on this type of
person and controversy to pursue bigger ratings. Otherwise,
where is the difference with commercial television?" Verro
"Sanremo is the festival of all Italians and no one should
feel like his civil and religious feelings were offended".
RAI 1 Director Giancarlo Leone tried to dampen tempers in a
press conference Monday saying, "I would like to put Verro at
ease. The difference between commercial television and RAI is
exactly in the fact that we have Rufus Wainwright and the others
do not. We have no intention of creating controversy using this
singer, who was, among other things, defined by Elton John as
the greatest songwriter in the world".
"We will not make a scandal," Leone added.
Sanremo manager Claudio Fasulo explained that Wainwright
was scheduled to sing the Beatles song Across the Universe, as
well as Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk, but no song that could
offend religious feelings.

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