The Canadian-American actor Jim Carrey may not be seen on the big screen as often today as in the glory days of “Dumb and Dumber” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” but he has had a second life on Twitter as an anti-Trump cartoonist. On Sunday he posted one of his latest drawings, depicting the lynching of Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator, in a veiled threat against President Trump, “If you’re wondering what fascism leads to, just ask Benito Mussolini and his mistress Claretta.”
The “Fun With Dick and Jane” star got more than he bargained for with the cartoon, which prompted a reply from the Duce’s granddaughter, Alessandra Mussolini, a right-wing Member of the European Parliament, who called him a “bastard.” The Daily Caller caught up with Mussolini to see what prompted her angry response.
You are a bastard
— Alessandra Mussolini (@Ale_Mussolini_) March 31, 2019
The Daily Caller: Why did you decide to reply to Jim Carrey on Twitter calling him a “bastard” for his drawing of Benito Mussolini hanging upside down?
MEP Alessandra Mussolini: Because I believe his cartoon was uncalled for. It was a drawing, even if a poor one, of a scene that represents family for me, and that was a grotesque and shameful chapter in Italian history. What happened in Piazzale Loreto that day occurred without due process. So I replied to his provocation. The fact that he is seen as a dictator does not mean you have the right to take away another’s freedom to criticize you. He also mentioned Claretta Petacci, who was my grandfather’s partner – not his wife because that was my grandmother, Rachele – but he referred to her as a “mistress,” which is clearly a derogatory term. And I can’t stand these actors’ attitudes, who feel like they can say whatever they like. They can, but it is also legitimate for me to reply, because the Internet is rightly free. He made a provocation, and he deserved a reaction. (RELATED: Jim Carrey Calls Ted Cruz A Vampire — Cruz Drives A Stake Through His Argument)
The Daily Caller: Why did you post pictures of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs and Native Americans as a reply to Jim Carrey’s cartoon?
MEP Mussolini: Because that is also part of history, just like what happened with my grandfather in Piazzale Loreto. No other nation on earth dropped a nuclear bomb. It wasn’t a way to criticize the United States – I love the United States, and I love Donald Trump even more – but I wanted to highlight, with the example of the Native Americans and the nuclear bomb, that people like Jim Carrey perhaps should think about their own country’s history before criticizing that of others. It’s true that he’s Canadian, but he’s a naturalized American. It’s very convenient for him to attack Benito Mussolini, my grandfather, to draw a parallel with Donald Trump – but it’s not as convenient for him to focus on his own country’s history.
The Daily Caller: What do you say to the Americans who think they have liberated Italy and Europe from your grandfather’s fascism?
MEP Mussolini: This is a historical fact, which cannot be disputed, but there’s a way we should talk about history. He wanted to draw a parallel with Trump, and criticize the American presidency too, and this is simply a form of posturing, which doesn’t bring anything fruitful to the conversation, and doesn’t teach us anything. These are simply tragic events, which should be treated that way.
And this is a matter of family for me. That is my grandfather. You may ask, are you objective about your grandfather? And my reply would be not very much, because he is my grandfather and I will always defend my family, full stop. So for me that scene in Piazzale Loreto, where my grandfather was exposed with Claretta Petacci, besides being a historical fact is a matter of family which I was told about through my grandmother and my father, and until a certain age they decided not to show me those shocking images, so for me seeing my grandfather that way is offensive. I reacted as a granddaughter. (RELATED: Jim Carrey Paints Image Of Trump And Supporters Going To ‘Hell’ In Latest ‘Artwork’)
The Daily Caller: What is your view of your grandfather’s legacy and of fascism in general? It seems from the replies to people claiming your grandfather was a mass murderer, that you disagree. You also shared images of fascist manifestos claiming there was universal suffrage for women, for example – something you seem to care deeply about. Are you defending fascism?
MEP Mussolini: Fascism is history. It no longer exists in Italy; now we have a democracy, which I respect. On fascism there are many convictions which I don’t want to negate, for example – as Renzo De Felice, a famous historian and academic who wrote extensively on Italian fascism – in the Decima Flottiglia MAS (an Italian commando unit in the fascist Italian Navy), the role of women, even relative to that period in history, was important. They were part of the guards, for example, so the idea that they were simply housewives is false. My aunt Edda, the daughter of my grandfather Benito, was also an advocate for women’s rights – she caused a lot of trouble to earn her rights. She was more of a man than many men out there, much more courageous too. In a similar way, the brother of my grandfather Benito, Arnaldo Mussolini, was an ecologist, dedicated to defending and protecting the environment. There are many truths that aren’t known, that history does not want to tell, and which I learned through my family. Many talk about the negative experiences, but I will tell the ones I have lived. There are always people who are going to hate me, and those who will love me – and that is life and I don’t want to change anyone’s opinion. I’m simply expressing my own.
The Daily Caller: You have also shown support for Donald Trump on Twitter, why do you support him?
MEP Mussolini: Because he’s a man who was against the system, he broke a series of barriers. In my view, he is in many aspects a revolutionary figure, and so I like him. He’s very plainspoken, he’s not politically correct, and even in the context of the United States – where I oppose the death penalty, for example – I agree nonetheless with a lot of what he represents.
What I would like to say, to conclude, is that beyond being historical perspectives, these are family ones for me. America is a free country, and I see the exchange which took place over Jim Carrey’s cartoon as something constructive, where explicit views were expressed even in vulgar ways, but it’s a still a sharing of views. I believe this is very important, so many years after the fall of fascism.
Alessandra Bocchi is a freelance reporter based in Italy.