Story By: Jana Tomovska, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A teenager who posted a photo showing her middle finger while Italy’s former far-right deputy Prime Minister slept next to her on a plane says she was sent death threats after he allegedly revealed her name.
The 19-year-old girl, who goes by ‘La Gotica Sweet’ on Instagram but whose real name is reportedly Erika Labbe, posted a picture next to former Deputy Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Salvini.
In the snap, Labbe can be seen showing her middle finger as Salvini sleeps in the seat next to her on a plane.
Salvini himself reposted the photo on social media, writing: “How nice to travel in the company of polite little people! And then maybe they go to the streets to fight hatred, violence and rudeness”.
The photo was shared by other politicians who criticised the teen for her post.
Northern League senator Roberta Ferrero who published the photo on her Facebook profile with a note reading: “Here is the bravest person of the day! Posting on social media with Matteo Salvini asleep and then going to the streets to talk about how there is hate in Italy!”
The teenager says she received widespread hate online following the incident and has now deleted her social media profiles.
She wrote before deleting her accounts: “I did not expect media exposure of this magnitude and honestly I am not the least bit interested in becoming ‘famous’ for something I did with completely different intentions. I’m sorry if people have been called into question with this photo, none of it was my intention.”
She added: “I thank the aforementioned page and Matteo Salvini for having exposed my name everywhere, making sure that I received heavy insults, death threats, various intimidations and pornographic material.
“I shared this photo with my friends to highlight the incredible coincidence of taking a low-cost flight and being seated together with Salvini.”
She went onto to describe being “cyberbullied” in the wake of the incident.
Salvini later posted another picture on his Facebook profile from a plane writing: “We are heading back to Rome! We hope to have a polite flight neighbour.”
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