Italy’s first black minister had bananas thrown at her by an audience member during a speech Friday, the latest in a series of harassing racial incidents she’s endured since her appointment in April.
All of the bananas missed the podium where Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge was speaking, the U.K. Telegraph reported, but unleashed a storm of condemnation in the country. According to Reuters, the slurs have been blamed on far-right groups angry with Kyenge’s efforts to make it easier for immigrants to gain Italian citizenship.
Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, responded to the incident on Twitter, calling it “sad” and a waste of food in light of the economic crisis, Reuters reported.
“The courage and optimism to change things has to come above all from the bottom up to reach the institutions,” she tweeted.
Gianni Alemanno, the former mayor of Rome, was less measured in his response: “Another shameful and disgraceful gesture. Solidarity with the Minister Kyenge. Now let’s just isolate the idiots.”
Earlier this month, an Italian senator said Kyenge reminded him of an orangutan.
“I love animals – bears and wolves, as everyone knows – but when I see the pictures of Kyenge I cannot but think of, even if I’m not saying she is one, the features of an orangutan,” Roberto Calderoli said in a speech. He later called Kyenge to apologize.
(H/T: Drudge Report)