Wednesday 26 September 2018

Women should be happy men try to 'hit' on them, says Silvio

'No expert': Silvio Berlusconi Photo: Reuters
'No expert': Silvio Berlusconi Photo: Reuters

Nick Squires

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has waded into the debate over sexual harassment provoked by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, saying that women "should be happy" if a man tries to seduce them.

However, the 81-year-old said that he was no expert in the field because he was always being chased by women and rarely had to do the wooing.

The opposition politician - who was convicted but then acquitted of paying for sex with an underage escort nicknamed 'Ruby the Heart Stealer' - spoke out in support of comments made this week by Catherine Deneuve.

The French actress was one of 100 women to sign a letter in 'Le Monde' defending a man's right to steal a kiss or touch a woman's knee, complaining that the campaign against harassment had become "puritanical" and that it was fuelled by a "hatred of men".

"Catherine Deneuve spoke blessed words," said Mr Berlusconi.

"It's natural that women are happy if a man tries to seduce them," he said in a television interview.

"I don't have much experience with this because it's always women who try to seduce me. The important thing is that the courtship is elegant."

The octogenarian has, over the years, repeatedly boasted of his way with women.

In 2011 he joked: "When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30pc of women said, 'yes', while the other 70pc replied, 'What, again?'"

After his separation from his long-suffering wife, former actress Veronica Lario, Mr Berlusconi threw himself into a tempestuous year of hosting "bunga bunga" parties at his residence near Milan and his summer villa in Sardinia.

He later settled down, however, with a former shop assistant from Naples who is nearly half a century younger than him.

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