Italy’s Meloni seeks damages over graphic deepfakes


The Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is seeking €100,000 ($108,488) in damages over the use of her image in fake videos posted online.

Meloni will appear in court in Sassari, a town in Sardinia, on July 2nd to testify against the defendants who are accused of publishing fake porn videos featuring the prime minister on an American adult website.

A 40-year-old man is thought to have produced the videos by superimposing Meloni’s face onto the bodies of performers in explicit scenes. His 73-year-old father is also under investigation.

Both men are accused of defamation, which in Italy can be punishable by a prison sentence of between six months and three years.

Maria Giulia Marongiu, Meloni’s lawyer, said the request of €100,000 in damages is symbolic and “is intended as a message to all women who are victims of this kind of abuse not to be afraid to report it.”

Any sum awarded by the court to Meloni will be donated to the Interior Ministry’s fund to support women victims of male violence, the lawyer said.

The probe was opened in 2020, two years before Meloni assumed office as prime minister in 2022. The police said it tracked down the suspects through the mobile device that was used to upload the videos.

The videos stayed online for several months and were viewed by millions of people, according to the indictment. Deepfake porn videos have proliferated in recent years and the technology is increasingly seen as a potential national security threat by governments worldwide.


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