Some controversy appears to have surfaced overnight with regards to the Italian broadcast of last night’s second semi-final of Eurovision 2018, as the commentators of RAI 4 in Italy, Saverio Raimondo and Carolina di Domenico implored viewers to boycott voting for San Marino due to the fact their jury gave 0 to Francesco Gabbani’s entry in 2017.

The full clip with a translated transcript of the controversial statements from the commentators can be found below;

Saverio: Attention, red alert, we are in the red zone. San Marino, high attention because the Italians are angry with San Marino because they betrayed us last year.

Carolina: There are people on Twitter who never forget.

Saverio: “Exactly. San Marino’s vote determined Gabbani’s elimination. San Marino for us is like Ohio for Hilary Clinton. So we can say that San Marino is our personal Ohio in Eurovision.”

Carolina: “But they went to the isle of Madiera-“

Saverio: “Yeah yeah okay, whatever, but they have to lose.”

Carolina: “There are two guys pulling the girls in basket.”

Saverio: “Yeah but they are like two Venetian gondoliers there to kill them. They are they to boycott the performance.”

This afternoon, following the relevation of this news, the head of delegation for San Marino in Eurovision, Alessandro Capicchioni, released a statement to the press regarding the controversy, which can be seen in full below;

“For the past 10 years, as Head of Delegation for San Marino, which makes me one of the longest serving among my Eurovision colleagues, I have never seen anything similar to what happened yesterday during the broadcast of semi final 2 at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. The two RAI 4 commentators made offensive statements and spread fake news; such as claiming that Francesco Gabbani failed to win Eurovision 2017 because of the San Marino vote. This is a completely fake news story and professionals, or presumed professionals, should carefully avoid such dishonesty, especially considering that they are speaking on behalf of one of Europe’s oldest and most respected Public Broadcasters. They even used the word “infamous” to describe a definitely friendly country.

“As anyone who reviews the scoring can clearly see, even if the San Marino jury had awarded Italy 12 points last year, Italy would only have placed 6th, independently of the fact that juries are sovereign in all nations, not just San Marino, and that they answer only to their own conscience. San Marino has never commented that Italy has never once awarded San Marino anything more than 6 points.

“The damage during the live show has now been done, regardless of whether it helped or hindered San Marino.

“Disappointingly, the behaviour of the two commentators during the live broadcast on RAI 4 is not only scandalous, but intolerable. It would be interesting to know if the same thing – even the word “infamous” has been used towards an independent and friendly country – would have been used from another country to one of their neighbours, indeed, their closest neighbour. At San Marino RTV, we could passibly ask Russia, or Germany, just for examples, how they’d have reacted.

“As Head of Delegation, I will meet with the Director General of San Marino RTV today – he’s here in Lisbon – to solicit an evaluation from the EBU regarding what has happened.”

There have been no further statements regarding this matter from either the EBU or RAI as of yet.

Image credit: Andres Putting (EBU)

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