Hate crime

Shortly after his film opened, Italian director Sebastiano Riso hospitalized from antigay attack

Italian film director Sebastiano Riso

Openly gay Italian director Sebastiano Riso claims he was the victim of a homophobic attack that left him in the hospital after the opening of his most recent film A Family.

The assault happened in Rome on Monday afternoon. Riso was attacked as he entered his apartment by two men who proceeded punch him in the face and stomach while shouting antigay slurs. He suffered multiple abdominal and eye injuries and had to be rushed to the hospital, where doctors say he will stay for about 10 days.

Related: Extremist Group In Italy Draws Inspiration From Mussolini In Gay-Marriage Fight

In a statement released yesterday, Riso explains:

Yesterday I was hit three times, and I feel it is a threefold attack [against me]: as a homosexual, as a director, and as a person.

As a homosexual because, while I was being hit, they addressed me with homophobic insults. As a director because the insults referred to the themes I deal with in my latest film, such as the possibility for gay couples to form their own family, and because the violence was perpetrated against my inclination to express myself through my work.

Despite the fear and rage that I still feel … I am sure I will continue to do that [express myself] the same way and even more than before.

Related: Italy’s anti-discrimination head embroiled in gay sex club scandal

A Family opened in Italian theaters last weekend after premiering at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year. It tells the story of a straight couple that supplies black market babies for gay couples who are unable to adopt because of Italy’s homophobic adoption laws.

h/t: Variety