French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has once again attracted the ire of Italian politicians for its controversial take on a national tragedy. The latest cover of the magazine features a cartoon that tenuously links Italy’s migration issues with the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in northern Italy. It depicts a black worker sweeping below the remains of the collapsed motorway bridge as cars fall to the ground. The caption reads: “Built by Italians… cleaned by migrants.”
The cartoon has provoked angry reactions from several Italian politicians as the city of Genoa continues to grieve the death of 43 people who died when the Morandi Bridge collapsed on August 14th. Edoardo Rixi, Italy’s vice-minister for transport and a Ligurian, led the calls of disgust.
“The French newspaper Charlie Hebdo is shameless and manages to surpass every limit of bad taste. Would this be satire? For me there is only one word: Disgusting.”
This isn’t the first time Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of a sensitive Italian event has outraged Italians. In 2016, the French satirical weekly upset many Italians and Italian Americans with its cynical cover about the earthquake in Amatrice in which 299 people died. Amatrice went on to sue the magazine. In 2017, Charlie Hebdo again took aim at an Italian tragedy when it made fun of avalanche victims. The mayor of Amatrice, Sergio Pirozzi, responded by encouraging Italians to draw their own cartoons in response. One response showed an emergency relief worker holding a child and putting out his hand to stop the grim reaper on skis depicted in the magazine’s original cartoon.
Charlie Hebdo isn’t afraid to offend, having previously published cartoons, for example, depicting the Islamic Prophet Mohammed – a major offense in Islam. Twelve people, including several of France’s most popular cartoonists, died in an attack on Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office on January 7th, 2015.