Family court shows are expected to create TV drama, but a recent reality-TV trial is generating a very real uproar in the Italian town of L’Aquila.
A woman claiming to have lost her wedding boutique business in the L’Aquila earthquake two years ago appeared on a Mediaset trial show Forum to ask her ex-husband for money to restart.
The April 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila killed 308 people, wounded 1,600 and left 65,000 homeless.
While on the show, the woman took time to explain her experiences in the earthquake and reflect on how the town and its residents are coping since the tragedy.
She claimed that only 300-400 people remained homeless and thanked Berlusconi, praising the prime minister for the impressive action he took to resolve the crisis.
The problem is, the woman, her husband and her story are all completely fabricated.
Marina Villa, who played the part of the victim, is not actually from L’Aquila. She lives with her real husband in the Abruzzo village of Popoli. When confronted, she admitted that she had accepted 300 Euro from producers to appear on the show and read a script.
Adding further fuel to the fire, the fake victim was paid to appear on the fake trail show to praise Berlusconi on a channel that the Prime Minister just so happens to own.
L’Aquila residents are indignant, furious with the way that the state of their devastated town was misrepresented. City officials are calling on the show to come to L’Aquila and see the true hardships still facing the real victims of the 2009 earthquake.