Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, known for his ‘bunga bunga’ parties and fondness for younger women, has pronounced that women should be happy if a man tries to seduce them.
Mr Berlusconi spoke in support of comments made earlier this week by actress Catherine Deneuve who cautioned against a courtship backlash following the swell of sexual misconduct allegations against prominent men in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Speaking during a late-night talk show on Thursday, Berlusconi said Deneuve had pronounced ‘holy’ words in saying men should be free to hit on women.
Silvio Berlusconi made his comments during a recording of the Italian state television RAI Porta a Porta (Door To Door) TV talk show in Rome on Thursday
Mr B 2013 conviction for paying for sex with an underage woman known as Ruby the Heart Stealer (above) was overturned on appeal
The former Prime Minister and Forza Italia (Go Italy) party leader has made no secret of his appreciation for women
He joked that while women usually hit on him, it was only ‘natural’ that women enjoy being courted by men.
‘It’s not an offense to court women if it stays in the realm of elegance,’ he said on RAI state television’s ‘Porta a Porta’ program.
Berlusconi has long characterized his sex-fueled ‘bunga bunga’ parties, where showgirls and models were paid to attend, as ‘elegant soirees.’
But although he has faced years of legal woes, he has never faced sexual assault allegations, and a 2013 conviction for paying for sex with an underage woman known as Ruby the Heart Stealer was overturned on appeal.
But the 81-year-old former cruise ship crooner has made no secret of his appreciation for beautiful young women.
His second wife left him after he showed up at the 18th birthday party of a supporter’s daughter, and his current girlfriend is some 50 years his junior.
Berlusconi is now leading a center-right coalition that hopes to retake power in general elections on 4 March.
The three-time premier can’t run himself because of a tax fraud conviction, but he is still a popular politician in Italy and remains a kingmaker as head of his Forza Italia party.