Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi told players on A.C. Monza, the soccer club he owns, that if they defeated a top rival that they will celebrate with “a bus of whores.”
Berlusconi, 86, received backlash for the comment. In 2011, he faced a criminal investigation relating to having sex with an underage sex worker. An appeals court in 2014 overturned Berlusconi’s conviction.
Berlusconi, who previously owned powerhouse A.C. Milan, bought A.C. Monza in 2018. The club is currently in 14th place in Serie A.
“I told the guys … now you will play Milan, Juventus. If you win against one of these top teams, I’ll bring a bus of whores into the locker room,” Berlusconi said in a video recorded at a Tuesday Christmas dinner.
The video was posted to social media on Wednesday.
Daniela Sbrollini, a female senator from the Italia Viva party, called Berlusconi’s comment misogynistic and typical for him.
Berlusconi responded to the backlash and said his comments were only “locker room talk.”
“I honestly didn’t think, and no one could imagine, that a simple witty and clearly paradoxical ‘locker room’ joke I addressed to the football players of my Monza could provoke comments as malicious as banal and unrealistic,” Berlusconi posted on Instagram.
“I feel with these critics. Perhaps it is just their absolute lack of humor that makes them so sad and also so gratuitously evil in attacking those they consider enemies. But it’s Christmas time. So happy birthday to them too,” he sad.