Anti-gay general says replaced not removed

(ANSA) – ROME, AUG 21 – Anti-gay general Roberto Vannacci said Monday he had been replaced in his post as head of Italy’s military geographical institute but not removed, denying widespread reports that Defence Minister Guido Crosetto had sacked him over a self-published book slamming gays, Jews, feminists and migrants among other minorities.
“I have not heard from Minister Crosetto, I have read his statements in the newspapers. And I have not received any notification of measures.

I have been replaced, as of midnight today, I have not been removed from my post,” Vannacci told ‘Morning News’ on Channel 5 after the controversy that arose around his book, The World Back To Front, which has become one of the hottest sellers on Amazon in Italy amid a surge in social media support and sympathy for his views.
Crosetto is a top ally and personal friend of Premier Giorgia Meloni but several other members of Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (FdI) have defended the general’s right to speak his mind under the Constitutionally sanctioned principle of freedom of expression.
Culture Undersecretary, art critic and polemicist Vittorio Sgarbi was the latest to express that view Saturday night.
Sgarbi, who heads his own independent libertarian party, Renaissance, said that Crosetto had not read the general’s book and should have left the decision to discipline up to the army top brass.
Meanwhile Vannacci turned down an offer from the tiny far right Forza Nuova (FN) political party to stand as their candidate for the upcoming by election for the late Silvio Berlusconi’s old Senate seat in Monza near Milan.
Vannacci, 55, a former head of the crack Folgore paratroopers regiment, said gays weren’t normal in his book which also criticised the alleged Jewish and other lobbies of various minorities. (ANSA).