The Malta Independent 16 August 2022, Tuesday

Priest brands PN candidate as ‘Hitler, Satanist, and murderer’ over pro-choice views

Thursday, 4 November 2021, 14:19 Last update: about 10 months ago

A priest was among many men who hit out at a PN candidate over her pro-choice views when it comes to abortion, with the priest describing Emma Portelli Bonnici as “Hitler, a satanist, a murderer, a butcher, and a criminal.”

Portelli Bonnici shared a Facebook post which showed several insulting comments aimed at her by people after she said that she wants a discussion on abortion.

ADVERTISEMENT

The comments, which include that of the priest Andrew Borg, described Portelli Bonnici as “the devil’s daughter” and said that she should get sterilised and that it is a sin for her to remain alive.

The comments came after a PN press conference which she addressed along with the PN’s Health spokesperson Stephen Spiteri.

There Spiteri – not Portelli Bonnici – said that the party was open to an immediate parliamentary debate on abortion, but that the PN’s stance remains against its introduction in Malta.

Portelli Bonnici however has said in the past that she is pro-choice.

She took to Facebook and shared the abuse she had received, saying that when she announced her intention to run for the general election, she did so knowing the abuse women face when they are in the public eye and that some may not like her or agree with her.

“What I cannot accept is the harassment – the abusive, often libellous, and slanderous words from people who’ve never met me or spoken to me – that take the words someone else said in a press conference, make them my own, and attempt to intimidate me. It seems the concept of fact-checking is foreign to them,” she said.

“Many people – mostly men – have seemingly made it their mission to hurt me; to have me exiled from the PN; to evoke some kind of ‘negative’ reaction from me; to continuously attempt to drag my name through the mud and say absolutely vile – and mostly untrue - things about me online,” she said.

“They do this, in an effort to be good God-fearing Catholics. The same god who preaches about loving thy neighbour, being kind, being empathetic, being a good person. This is the god they purport to represent when they mudsling and pour vitriol out via their keyboards, like the small, cowardly men they are. One of them is even a priest – are these the Christian values you teach during Sunday sermons?,” she continued.

She added that hate speech, the instigation of violence, and defamation are not only immoral acts “but they are also criminal.”

“What these people don’t realise though, is that their reactions galvanise me – I do not shake when you speak, and I will not quit because you so demand,” she said.

She said that the systematic abuse of women who dare speak about controversial issues, who hold public roles, or who have the audacity to disagree with archaic norms is unacceptable.

“It’s time up for gender-based abuse. Time up for sexist attacks. It’s time up for the mentality that just because someone assumes a public role or aspires to be in one, she is deserving of cruelty, abuse and death threats. Time up for witch hunts. It's time to once and for all cleanse politics from symptoms of the Puritan Age and 1600s Salem. You can’t just burn intelligent, unafraid women at the stake anymore - no matter how hard you try,” she said.

  • don't miss