Actress Pia Zammit has hit out at newspaper It-Torċa after it published the comments of an anonymous educator who expressed offence at how she had worn a swastika in a 2009 performance of the comedy ‘Allo ‘Allo.
“They have THREE TIMES (THREE – count ’em) printed a photo of me backstage during a production of ‘Allo ‘Allo (Teatru Manoel 2009), and they have done so for no reason other than to ‘allow’ this photo to be out there and shared on Facebook and Twitter,” Zammit said. “It’s also doing the rounds in private partisan political groups as well as on WhatsApp.”
“Normally I’d shrug it off – the bullying of anyone who DARES say that they are no happy with ANYTHING on this island is legendary and incessant (look at the victimising of the wonderful [environmental activist] Sasha Vella). But this time I’m NOT shrugging it off. Enough is e-freakin’-nuff!”
Back in 2009, Zammit was cast as Michelle Dubois in a Teatru Manoel rendition of ‘Allo ‘Allo, a popular British comedy about life in France during the Second World War. A photo of Zammit dressed in character while backstage, which was published on Facebook by one of her friends several years ago, started spreading online in recent days.
In today’s edition of It-Torċa, an anonymous educator warned that such photos can cause offence to people who lost loved ones during the war.
“Those who joke about with these symbols are displaying nothing but insensitivity,” s/he said, noting how Prince Harry had been forced to apologise back in 2005 after he wore a swastika armband to a friend’s fancy dress party.
This is Pia Zammit’s statement in full:
They DO say that August is usually silly-news season and I guess they need to fill those column inches – however it-Torca have taken silly-season to dangerous heights.
They have THREE TIMES (THREE – count ’em) printed a photo of me backstage during a production of ‘Allo ‘Allo (Teatru Manoel 2009), and they have done so for no reason other than to ‘allow’ this photo to be out there and shared on fb and twitter. It’s also doing the rounds in private partisan political groups as well as on Whatsapp.
Normally I’d shrug it off – the bullying of anyone who DARES say that they are no happy with ANYTHING on this island is legendary and incessant (look at the victimising of the wonderful Sasha Vella). But this time I’m NOT shrugging it off. Enough is e-freakin’-nuff!
This isn’t going to stop me being vocal – just as I’ve ALWAYS been vocal WHOEVER is in government (vide Stitching). However, this bullying and targeting of PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS *IS* stopping others from speaking their minds. It’s stopping people from asking for their rights to be respected. It’s stopping people from stepping up.
This is censorship.
THIS is what stomping on our freedom of speech also looks like – it doesn’t always include physical violence. (Although there is an argument to be made that it’s setting people up to be physically harmed. We all hate Nazis right (I certainly do) – we’d all like to give ’em a good old kick in the nuts at the very least right? ‘Naming’ someone as a Nazi is setting them up to be physically assaulted.)
They had to trawl through my friends’ facebook photos to find the swastika photo. It took great dedication to bully me. It also shows that they think very little of their readership that they expected them to automatically accept that this is something that Pia Zammit would flaunt. I’m publicly very anti-racism and very liberal.
We are truly living in Bizarro-Land when harassment like this is accepted. I wonder what the Institute of Journalists thinks about this!
Actors are being accused of actually being the parts that they play, and being publicly shamed for being actors.
So, my fellow thespians (look it up, Torca – it’s not what you think it means), we have choices:
a. Shut up
b. Call out the ridiculous-ness and show them up to be daft.
I’m going for (b) and will post a pic in the comments below – with a link to the website where you can get it done.
Let’s find our most ridiculously-spinnable theatre photos and be silly with them!
Who’s with me?