'Coronavirus pizza' too hot to handle for Italian politicians


ROME – A satirical video clip, broadcast by the French TV station ‘Canal +’ and circulated online during Tuesday morning, has caused Italian politicians to defend their food products and call for an apology. In the video, a stereotypical Italian chef, replete with mustache and chef's hat, is shown to cough phlem onto a freshly baked pizza, insinuating that Italian pizzas are contaminated with coronavirus. The voiceover can be heard to say in French, "The new Italian pizza that will travel around the world... Covid-19.”

  “I understand satire and everything, but making fun of Italians like this, with the emergency of the coronavirus that we are facing, is deeply disrespectful. The Foreign Ministry have immediately activated our embassy in Paris,” posted the Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio on Facebook.

  The Italian Minister for Agriculture, Teresa Bellanova, has demanded an apology from the TV station, and has said she expects them to withdraw the “shameful and creepy" video. 

  Mrs. Bellanova wrote on Facebook that, "faced with this moment of crisis and difficulties that not only our country but the whole of Europe is facing, the media should be informing citizens, telling the truth. Instead, we choose to denigrate an entire country.”

  According to La Repubblica, the video could cause a diplomatic incident between Italy and France. On Feb. 27, at a Franco-Italian Summit in Naples, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave each other a customary kiss on the cheek in greeting, when medical professionals have advised against close contact due to the coronavirus. Time will tell if the coronavirus pizza will force the French and Italians apart.

  “This it is not satire, it is an offense against an entire nation,” Mrs. Ballanova said, claiming personal offence on behalf of 60 million people.