Sep 4, 2016
Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine attacked by Islamic militants in 2015, drew wide criticism from Italians on Friday for the often impudent publication’s portrayal of victims of the country’s August earthquake that killed almost 300 people as different types of pasta.
An illustration in the the magazine with the heading, “Earthquake Italian style,” portrayed a man covered in blood with the caption, “Penne in tomato sauce,” along with a woman labeled “Penne au gratin.” It showed a “Lasagne” building that had collapsed with feet sticking out from in between rubble.
The French Embassy in Italy said via Twitter than the illustration “absolutely does not represent” France’s position and is rather a “caricature by the press (and) the freely expressed opinions are those of the journalists.” The cartoon made the front page of a number of Italian newspapers.
“How the fuck do you draw a cartoon about the dead! … I’m sure this unpleasant and embarrassing satire does not reflect French sentiment,” said Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of Amatrice, one of the Italian towns destroyed in the 6.2 magnitude earthquake. Amatrice is famous for the pasta sauce amatriciana, which it is named after.
Still remaining irreverent to Italian sensibilities, the magazine then published another illustration about the earthquake on its Facebook page showing a person under rubble with the caption: “Italians, it’s not Charlie Hebdo who has built your homes, it’s the mafia!” a reference to the Mafia controlling the construction industry.
It’s not that Charlie Hebdo hasn’t been in hot water over irreverent portrayals. In April the magazine blamed Muslims for terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris. In January it also mocked the Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, whose body was found washed up in the Mediterranean sea, portraying him as a would-be rapist. Twelve people were killed in the Jan. 2015 attack by gunmen accusing the journal of blasphemy for printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.