Italian TV host apologizes for gestures mimicking Asians

A Swiss-Italian television host has apologized for mimicking Asians on a satirical TV program

MILAN -- A Swiss-Italian television host apologized Wednesday for mimicking Asians on a satirical TV program after her actions drew protests on social media.

“I am truly sorry and I apologize if I hurt anybody,’’ Michelle Hunziker said in English in a video posted on Instagram. “I realize we are in a time when people are sensitive about their rights, and I have been so naïve not to take that into consideration.”

She added: “I am the furthest thing from racist.”

Hunziker and co-host Gerry Scotti made slanted-eye gestures and mimicked an Asian accent on the TV show “Striscia la Notizia” (“The News Crawls”) aired by the private Italian network Mediaset.

Hunziker is married to Tomaso Trussardi, chairman of Trussardi fashion house.

Last week, a Black Lives Matters protest was held outside the Rome studios of Italy's RAI state television over on-air racist language and the use of blackface on one show. Another round of protests targeted Hunziker and Scotti for laughing at a skit on their show that used racist language to describe African children.