When it comes to what happened to Francesca, a close family member is just wondering how Floriana FC got involved.
“We were at home when the whole Floriana thing happened,” they told Lovin Malta. “Francesca doesn’t even work at the Floriana depot.”
The family’s life has been thrown into disarray ever since a video Francesca sent her friends on WhatsApp was leaked to Facebook. The 27-year-old was imitating a popular TikTok trend, one that other local celebrities like Sarah Zerafa had posted.
The issue is, she was wearing her Maltese police uniform while doing it.
“Within 10 minutes of her video being posted on Facebook, it had been removed. Fifteen minutes later, the police depot called and asked her to go speak with them,” her loved one said. “She was really, really embarrassed, calling us worried saying ‘Madoff x’għamilt, skużani.”
But that was just the beginning.
A few days later, Floriana FC was handed the Premier League in an unprecedented decision, and the Granaries soon filled with people celebrating the win and breaking social distancing laws.
In the face of police inaction to stop the crowds, a meme appeared showing the celebrations alongside Francesca’s silly dance. People loved it, and the meme went viral across Maltese social media.
Francesca has been crying at home for two days, taking anti-depressants.
But the family are especially worried about her dad; the 69-year-old is also on anti-depressants and took the sudden shock hard.
“Her dad is old-school and he’s in hell right now. When he sees all the panic and stories about his daughter, he thinks something bad happened,” they said. “And she’s such a quiet, innocent girl, she’s too good… no-one saw this coming.”
Her family member says that Francesca filmed the video while on break, at a kebab restaurant in Mosta, the locality where she’s stationed.
The WhatsApp group she sent it to had over 20 members though.
“This should have been a hard lesson for her; she sent the video without thinking, as a joke. But if only the media knew how much harm they’ve done to these parents and brought them closer to death,” they said.
“The harm that’s been done to this family… And you cannot believe it, you tell people not to share it and they share it more.”
Francesca may face police disciplinary measures for the video. And when it comes to allegations that the police called a Maltese meme page to remove the video, the family member didn’t believe it.
“It’s a big huge lie – who is going to call? What did they say? Not one official or representative called her to see how she’s handling this, aħseb u ara how much they are going to be calling people to remove videos,” they said.
They were thankful after police commissioner applicant Sandro Camilleri reached out to offer his support, as well as to see TV host Peppi Azzopardi’s post questioning the investigation that Francesca will be put under.
The family thanked all the people who had been in contact to tell them that Francesca had just made a silly video and didn’t deserve this public shaming.
“There’s support, but no help. Francesca apologised and admitted she did wrong, but why should a genuine mistake be shared with the four corners of the world?” they asked.
“She made a funny video, and it’s a good one. What’s wrong with that? We are making people smile. There’s so little wrong with this, I don’t know how or why it’s even being addressed like this.”