Berlusconi: Is His Latest Scandal the Last Straw?

My piece on Berlusconi’s latest scandal has just been published by Time.

One sign of the seriousness of the scandal that threatens to topple the Italian government is the fact that for the first few days after it broke on Oct. 27, the country’s newspapers couldn’t print an unedited picture of the woman who sparked it.

For nearly a week, Italy’s broadsheets ran photos of Karima El Mahroug, a Moroccan belly dancer who allegedly told prosecutors she had been paid to attend “bunga-bunga” sex parties thrown by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. The pictures concealed little; they showed her dressed, variously, in thigh-high boots, a red-feather bra, and a plunge-cut tank top. But they did hide one part of the anatomy: her eyes. Until Nov. 1, when El Mahroug turned 18, the press carefully pixilated part of her face in an attempt to protect the privacy of a minor.

Read the rest.