Italian general Roberto Vannacci fired after homophobic and racist remarks in book

General Roberto Vannacci, in 2013
General Roberto Vannacci, in 2013 Copyright Wikimedia Commons
By Savin Mattozzi
Share this article
Share this articleClose Button

Two weeks after his book titled 'The World Upside Down' was released, Italian general Roberto Vannacci has been removed from his military post and has sparked a national debate on the limits of free speech.


Italian general Roberto Vannacci has been removed from his position as the head of the Italian paratroopers brigade and from the Military Geographical Institute in Florence after he made homophobic and racist statements in his self-published book 'The World Upside Down'

In his book, which has now reached number one on Amazon Italy’s bestsellers list, he takes aim at environmentalists, leftists, feminists, Jews and the unemployed. The most shocking statements in his book, which were the main reasons he was relieved from his positions, were aimed at the LGBTQ+ community and Black Italians.

The most infamous segment from the book starts as an address to the LGBTQ+ community:

“Dear homosexuals, you’re not normal, get over it!” He continues: “Normality is heterosexuality. If everything seems normal to you, however, it is the fault of the plots of the international gay lobby which banned terms that until a few years ago were in our dictionaries…” He then proceeds to list nearly a dozen slurs against the LGBTQ+ community.

After the controversy surrounding the book broke out, he defended his statements about the ‘abnormality’ of the LGBTQ+ community by saying that they were taken out of context. “Dear homosexuals, you are in good company, I too am abnormal.”

Later in the book, he states that he thinks migrants and immigrants should be more grateful for the “generosity and compassion” he alleges they received when they arrive in Italy. He continues that we are not all born equal and that immigrants to Italy will always be different and uses Italian volleyball champion Paola Egonu as an example. “She is Italian by citizenship, but it is clear that her facial features do not represent Italianness.”

Defense of Vannacci's book

In an interview with Italian media, the general defended his statements and said that he would not take anything back and he would write the book the same way over again if he had to.

He continued that what he discussed in his book falls under his constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech. A claim that was echoed by several Italian right-wing figures like Vittorio Sgarbi, who claimed that Vannacci has been humiliated by “the dictatorship of the progressive minority.”

Vannacci’s statements have garnered him the attention of not just the Italian right-wing but also far right-wing fringe groups. Forza Nuova, a neo-fascist group, offered Vannacci the chance to run under their party as a senatorial candidate in the northern Italian city of Monza. 

Vannacci later declined the offer saying that he will continue to be a soldier.

Share this article

You might also like