Head of Italy's Anti-Discrimination Office Quits After Gay Sex Club Scandal

Wednesday February 22, 2017

The head of Italy's anti-discrimination office resigned from his position Monday after being accused of misusing government money. Instead of funding diversity programs and fighting racism, Francesco Spano allegedly used taxpayer funds for gay sex clubs, Reuters reports.

Spano quit hours after a TV show called "The Hyenas" aired an investigative report that accused his department, The National Office Against Racial Discrimination, of approving up to 55,000 euros for at least three LGBT cultural centers.

The segment showed a reporter visiting the three clubs, where the alleged illicit activities went down. One club reportedly charged 50 euro for a basic massage with "post-rubdown intercourse or fellatio for a 70 euro supplement," the Daily Beast writes. Another club reportedly charged 38 euro for the massage and 50 euro for extra services. The Daily Beast notes the transactions were "caught on grainy videotape."

The clubs sponsored by the Italian government also had "dark rooms." The Daily Beast writes these rooms were "actually red-lit orgy salons." "The Hyenas" caught naked men "with full erections essentially engaging in random acts of eroticism without condoms between sips of cocktails from an open bar. For the sake of privacy of the club members, no faces were shown in the exposé."

The Daily Beast continues:

When asked if the club engaged in any cultural activities, which is a requirement set forth by the Italian government to receive funding and tax-free status, the bouncer can be heard saying, quite clearly, "Just open your ass or mouth and you've got culture... cock culture."

Reporters from "The Hyenas" followed Spano to his office and confronted him with their discovery. They showed him a copy of a club membership card in his name. The club in question reportedly offers prostitution and dark rooms. Spano, however, denied knowing about the club or his membership card. He said he would look into the clubs and promise to "cancel their funding" if anything illegal was discovered.

After the report and Spano's resignation, some conservative lawmakers in Italy called on the government to explain the funding for these clubs while Giorgia Meloni, the president of Brothers of Italy (the country's conservative party), said he National Office Against Racial Discrimination should be shut down, Reuters reports.

"Not one more euro of tax payers' money should be thrown away on paying their salaries," she wrote on Facebook.

Italy's government responded, saying the department would remain open and that Spano's resignation is "not an admission of guilt," but that he quit "out of respect" for his work and the department.

Click here to read The Daily Beast's full, and thorough, report Spano and the scandal.