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French actress Cecile Cassel and Italian director Fausto Brizzi. (Photo by Elisabetta Villa/Getty Images)

Speaking out

3 women accuse ‘Italian Weinstein’ of rape, but archaic laws make conviction unlikely

April 19, 2018

Director Fausto Brizzi, who became known as the “Italian Weinstein” after 10 woman accused him of sexual harassment or assault, is facing charges from three women who have accused the popular filmmaker of rape. All three women who brought charges against Brizzi alleged that he lured them to his apartment by claiming he planned to audition them before proceeding to force himself on them instead. But since two of the complaints took place more than six months ago — which is beyond the statute of limitations according to Italy’s archaic rape laws — it is considered unlikely that Brizzi will face conviction. Rape wasn’t even a crime in Italy until 1996, as Asia Argento pointed out last week in an Op-Ed for Women in the World.

In November, Mediaset TV show Le Lene ran a segment on sexual harassment during which 10 of the 30 women interviewed admitted to facing harassment or assault from Brizzi. The filmmaker, who has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex, has so far managed to avoid serious repercussion from the accusations. He released a new movie with Warner Bros. in December, although the media company said that it would be suspending further work with him.

Actress and director Asia Argento, who also appeared at the 2018 Women in the World Summit about the stigma she faced in her native Italy after she spoke out about her alleged rape at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, was among those who responded to the news by calling for a change to the country’s rape laws.

“Predators and harassers will go unpunished,” she wrote on Twitter. “We need to change this law that was created before the unification of Italy!”

As Argento and other panelists noted during their panel at the 2018 Women in the World Summit, the Italian media has been quick to defend men in power, and condemn women who share their #MeToo stories as prostitutes or worse. Producer Luca Barbareschi, with whom Brizzi has a three-year contract, has been among the many to claim that the women accusing the director are “loonies” who should not be taken seriously.

Watch the complete panel from the 2018 Women in the World Summit below.

Read the full story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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