Wednesday, 22 April 2020
An Italian newspaper is under fire after it made comments about the weight of Belgian Federal Health Minister Maggie De Block.
The Italian newspaper Affari Italiani published an article with the headline “Coronavirus, Belgium changes how it will count deaths, decides Maggie: minister of 140 kg” on Friday. The article itself again focused on De Block’s weight.
The newspaper received a lot of criticism on social media, mainly on Twitter, calling the article “shameful” and saying that “the physical form of a minister has nothing to do with their policy.”
The newspaper apologised and retracted the article, reports De Standaard, but several screen captures are still circulating.
La fatphobia non esiste pic.twitter.com/0dDSeeFAbe
— sof (@SofiaShoe) April 19, 2020
Even when a woman holds a high position, she cannot escape body-shaming, the Italian website Dissapore said about Affari Italiani’s article. “We assume that the decisions of the Belgian minister Maggie are more important than her physical form,” it said, adding that this was not the first time the paper has been criticised for inappropriate comments, as Teresa Bellanova, the Italian Minister for Agriculture, has been targeted before as well.
Recently, De Block’s policy regarding the coronavirus crisis has also been criticised, with a government staff union asking for her resignation because of her “total and reckless lack of foresight” and “the non-renewal of the strategic stockpile of FFP2 masks,” according to the union.
The Brussels Times