The Malta Independent 23 January 2021, Saturday

Activist loses Allo, Allo! skit ‘Nazi sympathiser’ libel case

Thursday, 3 December 2020, 11:13 Last update: about 3 months ago

Actress and Occupy Justice activist Pia Zammit has lost a libel case she filed against the editor of it-Torċa Victor Vella after the newspaper suggested she was a Nazi sympathiser based off of a  picture of Zammit in costume for a theatre production.

Zammit had sued the newspaper for libel in 2019, saying that a report published by them had suggested that she was a Nazi sympathiser.

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The paper had published pictures of her in a parody Nazi uniform costume; pictures which were taken backstage at a performance of the famous World War Two comedy Allo, Allo!.  The newspaper suggested that the actress had made light of Nazi symbolism, publishing comments by an anonymous ‘educator’ who said that Zammit’s image had been offensive to the victims of Nazism.

Zammit’s lawyer Joseph Zammit Maempel had argued that the same newspaper had reviewed the play during its 2009 run.

“So, they know this play, they know that Pia Zammit is playing a member of the French resistance against the Nazis. If she was doing something, it was against the Nazis,” he pointed out, adding that “the parody is so obvious, it is the article which is disgusting not her behaviour.”

However Magistrate Rachel Montebello disagreed, upholding the arguments made by lawyer Aaron Mifsud Bonnici, for the GWU-owned newspaper.

Mifsud Bonnici had told the court that “a photo of a well-known person wearing a swastika is a controversial action and insisted that expressing disagreement with such actions is a fundamental human right”.

“The controversy is not that she sympathises with Nazism but the use of it in comedy. Silly things about matters of great importance are insensitive,” Mifsud Bonnici argued.

The judgment against Zammit also ordered her to pay all the costs of the case.

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