An Italian TV show has come under fire after it aired a segment showing a woman being groped onstage.
Singer Emma Marrone appeared on the TV show "Amici di Maria De Filippi" to perform a solo, but things took a bizarre turn when a back up dancer crept up from behind her and began manhandling her.
He shamelessly kept grabbing her waist, chest and behind while running his hands all over her body.
Marrone was visibly uncomfortable and disgusted with the man’s behavior and she tried to push him away multiple times, but to no avail.
What is even more shocking is that people in the audience along with the judges can be heard laughing at the man’s bizarre behavior and not a single person actually stood up against the way Marrone was treated.
"I don't want to be a prude — but when he touches me so much, I can't sing. This isn't dancing,” she told the staff at one point of time, and even told the dancer “a bit less.”
But despite her constant objection to the way he touched her, when things continued, Marrone couldn’t help but push the man to the ground and storm off stage.
The show’s producer very conveniently then claimed the entire act to be a prank, and gave Marrone an award. "In that moment, I felt very strong emotions,” she said.
It is questionable as to why the producer thought it was OK to pull off and continue with such a prank, despite the singer’s objection, and the fact that she was visibly uncomfortably.
Campaigners outraged with the way Marrone was treated launched a petition to outline new guidelines regarding sexual violence; it has gained around 20,000 supporters so far.
Unfortunately, the show host Maria de Filippi still does not realize the intensity of the situation and stated: "If some people think that the joke was sexual assault, that means the world has turned upside down. I don't think that anyone who is even slightly rational could think such a thing."