In his Millennium trilogy, the Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson had given him his own role: that of a keen boxer, always ready to fight, especially when the cause was just. Since then, Paolo Roberto has participated in the first season of the TV show “Let’s Dance”, hosted the reality show “Expedition Robinson” (the Swedish “Koh-Lanta”) and published several cookbooks. He also marketed food products from Italy, his father’s country of origin, under the Paolos brand.
All of this is now over. On May 15, on the TV4 channel, with which he usually collaborates, the former boxer engaged in a strange session of confession, causing discomfort among Swedish viewers. Sitting opposite him, a reporter looks back at the cryptic message he posted on Instagram. In particular, he asked for help “To repair the hole in his soul”. ” What happened ? “, questions the journalist. Looking away, Paolo Roberto mumbles: “I bought … I bought sex. ” He says it was the first time. A temporary distraction, which he puts on the account of self-destructive tendencies: “I did the dirtiest thing possible. “
A massive reaction
The previous day, the ex-sportsman was caught in the act, during a police raid, in an apartment of the district of Östermalm, in Stockholm. Ten other clients were arrested. A few days later, two men of Romanian origin, arrested at Stockholm Skavsta airport, south of the capital, while trying to flee the country, were charged, suspected of human trafficking .
In the Scandinavian kingdom, which prides itself on being the first country in the world to have criminalized the purchase of sexual services since 1998 and has never ceased, since then, to promote its principle abroad, the reaction is massive. TVs and radios end the fallen star’s contracts. The publisher Bonnier suspends the sale of his books. Packages of pasta and bottles of olive oil stamped “Paolos” narrowly escape the trash, thanks to an online sales site which intends to market them by passing the profits on to an association for combating violence against women.
Parties in battle order
The health crisis caused by the coronavirus had paralyzed the political debate. The parties are getting back into battle. On May 16, three elected Social Democrats, including MEP Heléne Fritzon and ex-minister responsible for gender equality Annika Strandhäll, signed a platform demanding prison terms for men who buy sexual services. “The usual customer in Sweden is often a married father with a good job, a house and a car, they write. He’s your neighbor. Men make an active choice when they exercise their power and buy the bodies of exposed women. Women are often victims of human trafficking and come from poor European countries. They are locked up in apartments in Sweden, where they are victims of serious and repeated attacks. ”
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