Out of bounds: Italian actress Sabina Guzzanti may face jail time for her provocative joke about Pope Benedict XVI.
Jokes about religion often play with the boundaries of tolerance and taste, but they don’t always carry the consequences that Sabina Guzzanti now faces. The Italian actress could go to jail for upsetting the powers that be with a satirical zinger about the pope and two gay devils.
Sabina Guzzanti, a popular actress and comic, had joked at an anti-politics rally that Pope Benedict XVI, known for his hardline views on homosexuality, would “go to hell and be pursued by two big, gay and very active devils”.
Rome’s prosecutor Giovanni Ferrara said he wants to start proceedings against her for “vilification” of the Pope under article of 313 of the penal code. Ferrara said that the offence caused by her comments went beyond satire.
He has officially asked the justice minister, Angelino Alfano, for permission to start proceedings. Guzzanti is also under investigation for breaching article 278 of the penal code, which allows the courts to sentence people to five years if found guilty of “offending the honour” of the Pope or the Italian president.