What’s worse than a Member of Parliament trying to poke fun at an underage girl? Not much… except maybe him failing.
Economy Minister Silvio Schembri took to Twitter last week to share photos from his trip to Malta Enterprise, where he was snapped alongside Prime Minister Robert Abela and ME CEO Kurt Farrugia among others.
But while the tweet might’ve looked harmless enough, 15-year-old activist Tiziana Aljasem later pointed out that the group hardly looked like they were following proper COVID-19 regulations.
“Social distancing and masks at their finest!” the teenage girl commented some days after the initial post.
So what does Economy Minister Silvio Schembri do?
He posts a photo from nine months ago, showing Tiziana laying candles at the Daphne Caruana Galizia protest site underneath the Great Siege memorial alongside MEP David Casa. So that’s two people next to each other, about four months before the first case of COVID-19 was ever recorded 8,850 kilometres away from Valletta, in Wuhan. Yikes.
Some moments later, Schembri’s retweet – which also came with the self-explanatory “Here is finer!” – disappeared from Twitter.
Paid a visit to @maltaenterprise along with Prime Minister @RobertAbela_MT to thank all employees for their #hard work – especially during the past few months ✅@MaltaGov @MEIB pic.twitter.com/cLGOTdQ4iv
— Silvio Schembri (@SilvioSchembri) May 12, 2020
Minister of Economy @SilvioSchembri’s reply to my tweet when pointing out that no masks were worn and neither was there social distancing when visiting @maltaenterprise. Only after, his reply disappeared. pic.twitter.com/sPAMrBFNVs
— Tiziana Aljasem (@TizianaAljasem1) May 18, 2020
Twitter quickly had a field day with the troll attempt, with activists and politicians alike roasting Schembri.
“Our Economy Minister can’t even get internet trolling right,” Casa replied, sharing a screenshot of the now-incomplete exchange. “Two things that definitely need some serious social distancing are you and social media, Silvio Schembri.”
“It’s worse than that, actually,” Daphne’s sister Mandy Mallia continued. “Trolling a minor whilst concurrently mocking her for calling for justice for Dapne Caruana Galizia, and one day after Chris Fearne blocked an Occupy Justice activist on Twitter.”
But Schembri’s reply isn’t the only thing that’s now hard to find; it looks like he also hid Tiziana’s initial comment.
“Why did you hide her reply?” the Justice for Daphne Twitter handle challenged the Economy Minister. “She raised a valid point. Just yesterday Robert Abela said his government is open to scrutiny. A bunch of hypocrites is what you are.”
Our Economy Minister can’t even get internet trolling right. Two things that definitely need some serious social distancing are you and social media, @SilvioSchembri.
???? 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣0️⃣ ???? pic.twitter.com/UxE8elJGc0
— David Casa (@DavidCasaMEP) May 19, 2020
It’s worse than that, actually – trolling A MINOR whilst concurrently mocking her for calling for justice for #DaphneCaruanaGalizia, and one day after @ChrisFearne blocked an @occupyjusticema activist on Twitter.
Concerted effort at harassing those calling for #JusticeForDaphne? https://t.co/f152c18FAP
— Mandy Mallia (@MandyMallia) May 19, 2020
Why did you hide @tizianaAljasem1’s reply, @SilvioSchembri? She raised a valid point. Just yesterday @RobertAbela_MT said his government is open to scrutiny. A bunch of hypocrites is what you are. https://t.co/UhcdvzMcfy pic.twitter.com/6R4qlODck1
— Justice for Daphne (@justicefordcg) May 19, 2020