Italian TV host apologises for gestures mimicking Asians

Italian TV host apologises for gestures mimicking Asians
Michelle Hunziker (Luca Bruno/AP)

A Swiss-Italian television host has apologised for mimicking Asians on a satirical TV programme after her actions drew protests on social media.

“I am truly sorry and I apologise if I hurt anybody,” Michelle Hunziker said in English in a video posted on Instagram.

“I realise we are in a time when people are sensitive about their rights, and I have been so naive not to take that into consideration.”

I am the furthest thing from racist

Michelle Hunziker

She added: “I am the furthest thing from racist.”

Hunziker and co-host Gerry Scotti made slanted-eye gestures and mimicked an Asian accent on the TV show Striscia la Notizia (The News Crawls) aired by the private Italian network Mediaset.

In her Instagram post, Hunziker acknowledged the US-based content producers behind the fashion watchdog account Diet Prada, who along with bloggers living in Italy had called out the gestures as racist.

Hunziker is married to Tomaso Trussardi, chairman of the Trussardi fashion house.

Last week, a Black Lives Matter protest was held outside the Rome studios of Italy’s RAI state television over on-air racist language and the use of blackface on one show.

Another round of protests targeted Hunziker and Scotti for laughing at a skit on their show that used racist language to describe African children.

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