It was obviously all made in jest – if you still belong to the bygone era of Benny Hill and the Carry-On troupe, but no one was laughing this time. As soon as he saw it, councillor for Culture and Tourism Matteo Lepore, immediately phoned for those responsible for its publication to remove it: “Certain images with this Municipality have nothing to do with it, and we will take action,” though he did not stipulate what action that might be.
The comic strip was published via the Bologna Museum Card Instagram’s profile and it shows a brief dialogue between a girl (provocatively dressed) and a boy. “Close your eyes,” she asks, before appearing naked, with the exceptions of her intimate parts being wrapped like a Christmas present. Then she exclaims: “Get ready for a very special gift.” But he still has his eyes closed and with a Christmas tree in the background, appears to dream quite the opposite. “Make it be a Bologna Museum Card…” the message seems to allude to.
It’s one of the many images that run online and can be contextualized by changing the text of the dialogue. The fact that it was published at all is bad enough, considering we are now well into the #MeToo era but considering it was an official profile for a public institution just makes it mind-numbingly embarrassing. The account deals with the promotion of museums and exhibitions aimed at Bolognese citizens and tourists from around the world. The images usually only last for 24 hours – in this case, it quickly became among the most widespread and consulted in this period – was removed after a short time. This was mainly due to those who were offended by it and reported it in a negative light. “I immediately called the manager and had the image cancelled,” reveals Lepore, explaining that “there is an external communication agency that takes care of the communication of the Museum card and they took their own initiative to publish it.”
But the councillor admits that the comic strip is light years away from the vision of the comune: “It is sexist, to be censured absolutely because this City has always shown respect for women.” Therefore, measures are being taken towards the communication agency and those responsible for managing our profile. “Of course, it is my duty. I will meet them and we will evaluate if and how to continue working together. So far they have done a great job, the Card is going very well, but on social media, you have to pay close attention to your actions.” Lepore continues, “we will talk seriously and verify what did not work.” This particular advertising campaign had also involved the young YouTuber Luis Sal. His videos are original and fun and go viral, thus providing a good reason in this case for the Museums Institution to collaborate with him.