Human rights NGO wants V18 artistic director sacked for 'bitch' comment

‘His disgusting language cannot be defended by a government that has just adopted legislation protecting all persons from gender-based violence. He must go.’

The Aditus Foundation has urged authorities to sack Valletta 2018 artistic director Mario Philip Azzopardi’s after comments posts online where referred to a civil society activist as a “sorry bitch”.

Azzopardi was commenting on a Facebook post doing the rounds online, calling il-Kenniesa activist Tina Urso a traitor for her part in organising a London protest against Malta’s Individual Investor Programme.

Azzopardi has since apologised for the comment, insisting that he had only done so because “for a second” he believed a post on Facebook in which she was “quoted” as saying she hated everything Maltese.

“In a society supposedly promoting equality, dignity and respect for fundamental human rights it is unacceptable that women are labelled ‘sorry bitches’,” the foundation said.

“Recent public comments by V18 Artistic Director Mario Philip Azzopardi fly in the face of Malta’s efforts at improving the way it treats all members of its society, particularly women.”

It added that Azzopardi’s “disgusting insults” might be his chosen method of expressing himself, “yet they offend the laws policies and values that secure the protection of all persons from vulgar insults intended to bully and intimidate”.

The Aditus Foundation said the government that had just adopted legislation protecting all persons from gender-based violence could not longer defend such “disgusting language”.

“How would the government have reacted had Mr Azzopardi called a gay man ‘sorry pufta’ or a migrant ‘sorry nigger’?” Aditus Foundation director Neil Falzon asked.

Azzopardi’s comments came days after a group of 72 MEPs, and a group of over 250 authors from PEN International expressed serious concerns about the language being used by V18 Chairman Jason Micallef in relation to the late Daphne Caruana Galizia and activists calling for justice for the murdered journalist.