An Italian newspaper ironically named il Fatto Quotidiano “The Daily Fact” has recently jumped on the bandwagon of bashing Roosh. Despite the lack of any “Don’t Bang Italy” publication or comments about the country to instigate backlash, the editors of this magazine decided that, if it bleeds it leads, and what better scandal that to read about a new wave of “rapists” empowered by their leader, Roosh Valizadeh.
First, a little about the paper. iFQ was founded way back in the year 2009. That’s incredibly young by typical standards, but in the birthplace of Western civilization, Rome, where it’s not uncommon to work and live in buildings hundreds or even thousands of years old, it’s downright infantile. This daily tabloid has a print circulation of less than 40,000, about the size of your typical small town or village. However, age and popularity are not valid criticisms of a paper, and indeed smaller independent news sources are often more reliable and free than large, institutional papers.
The Daily Fact was co-founded by Antonio Padellaro and Marco Travaglio, journalists who had worked together prior to founding the new Daily in 2009. Both were strong critics of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi (2008-2011) who was later imprisoned for tax fraud, bribery, and corruption. Padellaro left the paper in February 2015, when Marco Travaglio took over as editor. Travaglio is a self-described fan of Reagan and Thatcher, a “European liberal,” which is closer to an American libertarian or right wing.
While I am relatively unfamiliar with Italian politics and media, and lack the ability to judge the reputation and quality of The Daily Fact as a news organization, it was founded in 2009 with strong ideals—rejection of public tax monies, limited advertising, rules prohibiting a large controlling shareholder interest, freedom, and independence to “really give the news” and “tell what others do not tell.”
Indeed, the actions of one writer do not represent those of an entire organization. Therefore, I am calling on editor Travaglio to correct and retract his slanderous article published October 1, 2015 by Elisa Murgese (facebook) titled “I suoi libri insegnano come stuprare una donna” as seen in the image below)
Libel and Slander
It is unknown what has “triggered” this unprovoked attack. The article was penned by Elisa Murgese, a writer with a British accent (not listed on the board of 18 editors of The Daily Fact–apparently a freelancer), who seems fixated on America, with columns on Bruce Jenner, American Purity Balls, American Reality TV, and dubious rape statistics.
Murgese has been writing for the paper for at least a year, although her stories seem to be mostly translations of foreign news stories that may have some international appeal. Hence the story of Roosh, ripped directly from American site “We Hunted The Mammoth: The new misogyny, tracked and mocked,” a site which seems obsessed with sarcastically restating many of Roosh’s articles, and indeed posted a critique of Roosh’s thought experiment on ways to lower rape in February 2015.
Murgese’s article was basically a translation of the same unfounded, libelous, slanderous, and completely inaccurate claims made before, accusing a man of committing rape when no such crime has ever been seriously alleged, much less proven in a court of law.
I was hoping there would at least be some thought put into this criticism here. After all, this is Italy, where when your head of state has a mistress, it is something to smile and high five over, not call a multimillion dollar investigation and impeach your president. But no. It’s the same old stupid “he wants to teach men to rape” nonsense. Murgese makes three incredibly absurd claims.
1. Love tourism = rape
He calls it “love tourism”. For others, however, it is true advice on how to rape a woman in foreign locations without being accused of this violence.” So now meeting interesting, feminine, high quality women while on vacation is the equivalent of violently raping them. Murgese is actually calling sex rape now. This is not uncommon in the US and Canada, but I thought Europe was a little more progressive with their views on sex.
2. Sex After Wine = Rape
Murgese has a British English accent, and I seriously doubt any Italian heritage. First attacking sex and then drink? She brings up the nutty third wave feminist line that sex combined with drinking alcohol is rape! Setting aside the fact that almost everyone has had drunk sex at some point in their life, and that the majority of nightclubs and bars exist primarily to allow couples to meet, lower inhibitions, and later engage in sexual congress, she infers that Roosh raped a girl in Iceland because he told a story about having sex with an Icelandic female after drinking.
Well, if alcohol indeed causes one to rape, the only logical conclusion to this is get rid of this rape inducing drug! How many times does drinking a glass of wine lead to sex.. excuse me.. rape.. later that night? By that rationale, all wine in Italy must be smashed and destroyed.
3. Endorsing Criminal Behavior
Murgese then states: “Roosh V meticulously explains not only how to abuse a girl, but also how to avoid being criminally prosecuted.”
This accusation is presented entirely without explanation or evidence. Nowhere have I ever seen anyone condoning criminal behavior, especially violent crimes, and no instructions on how to avoid prosecution of violent crimes is ever discussed in any of Roosh’s writings, nor have I seen an article written by anyone in the neomasculinity movement even begin to broach this subject.
Italy has severe laws against libel and slander, and since the author is directly calling for a boycott of Roosh’s books, a case could be made she is directly financially harming him with inaccurate and baseless wild accusations.
A misunderstanding or purposeful slander?
Especially when it comes to foreigners in strange lands, many of us are guilty of making accusations of others based only on others’ opinions, or repeating what is heard in the media “Putin is a brutal dictator!” “Assad is a violent man who must be overthrown!” “Iran should be nuked off the map!” “The American military is grossly underfunded!” when instead we are often parroting the voices of the ignorant.
I am willing to give Elisa Murgese the benefit of the doubt here, and assume that she just reacted out of rage upon hearing of a rapist on the loose without bothering to verify if such an outlandish situation could actually exist.
Perhaps her editors found similarly libelous stories in American blogs and considered that good enough to confirm and approve the article. Therefore, I am now calling on the editor and publisher of il Fatto Quotidiano to retract its slanderous story immediately, and issue a statement clarifying that these claims are wild and baseless. If not, I expect to see them out on the streets tomorrow, smashing wine-rape bottles and pulling women out of bars and nightclubs before they can get raped.
In case they need some motivation, a refresher on slander laws in Italy, courtesy of Wikipedia:
In Italy, there are different crimes against honor. The crime of injury (Article 594 of the Penal Code) refers to offending one’s honor and is punished with up to six months in prison or up to 516 Euros in fine. If the offense refers to the attribution of a determined fact and is committed before many persons, penalties are doubled to up to a year in prison or up to 1032 Euros in fine. In addition, the crime of defamation (Article 595, Penal Code) refers to any other situation involving offending one’s reputation before many persons, and has a penalty of up to a year in prison or up to 1032 Euros in fine, doubled to up to two years in prison or a fine of 2065 Euros if the offense consists of the attribution of a determined fact. When the offense happens by the means of the press or by any other means of publicity, or in a public demonstration, the penalty is of imprisonment from six months to three years, or a fine of at least 516 Euros.
Finally, Article 31 of the Penal Code establishes that crimes committed with abuse of power or with abuse of a profession or art, or with the violation of a duty inherent to that profession or art, lead to the additional penalty of a temporary ban in the exercise of that profession or art.
More than Just Bad Reporting
While some would suggest a nefarious worldwide plot by spiteful enemies to destroy the neomasculinity movement, I was initially inclined to think this was merely lazy reporting by a part time foreign freelance journalist. However, Murgese escalates the existing “rapist” claim made recently in the wake of Roosh’s Canadian masculinity talks, taking it a step further by calling him a rapist who educates other rapists on how to rape women repeatedly without getting caught.
This clearly crosses the line from laziness to fraudulent and defamatory. It is difficult to believe that Murgese came across a story of an American rapist who has a mission of spreading rape throughout the world and believed it.
Indeed, when I googled the term “rape apologist” I could not find a single real person who was identified as a rape apologist. I did, however, find a story about Pretenders singer Chrissie Hynde discussing her sexual assault at the age of 21: “Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility. If I’m walking around in my underwear and I’m drunk? Who else’s fault can it be?”
If a real rape apologist can’t even be named, it appears highly negligent for Murgese to author a story in a foreign language about an overseas “rapist and rape apologist” without any independent verification, criminal records, police reports, or other documentation. Rape apologists are not real, or if they exist, they are so rare that they are as common as the female unicorn.
But as the Bruce Jenner story has taught us, that doesn’t stop news organizations from heaping disproportionate amounts of coverage on an issue if it suits their agenda. There are no rape apologists, the one in four rape statistic is a lie, and Roosh is not a rapist. Il Fatto Quotidiano must retract its story immediately.