‘Bunga bunga’ may bring down Italian media magnate Silvio Berlusconi – but what exactly is it?

Italian prime minister and media magnate Silvio Berlusconi (73) is in yet more trouble, this time over a sex game called bunga bunga which was apparently taught to him by the lively president Gaddafi of Libya.

17-year old Moroccan belly dancer Karima Keyek, stage name Ruby Rubacuori, has been regaling an Italian court with details of her visits to Berlusconi parties which involved the above-mentioned after-dinner entertainment, which doesn’t sound like bridge.

Rather annoyingly none of the many reports say what it is exactly although they do say it involves a lot of nakedness with just Berlusconi and a male friend alongside 20 or so women, two of whom were apparently Italian cabinet ministers. Doesn’t sound like our own coalition government Theresa May but there you go.

The ancient ‘bunga bunga’ joke involves three unfortunate travellers to Africa who are captured by tribesmen and offered the alternatives of bunga bunga or death. The first two choose bunga bunga and are anally-raped by their captors. The third doesn’t like the look of this and chooses death and is killed by, yes, you’ve guessed it, bunga bunga. Well it’s probably all in the telling.

But you can see why Silvio might be in trouble, even by his standards. Ms Keyek says she didn’t participate by the way, but you’ve still got to wonder about those cabinet ministers.

Anyway, leaving aside these salacious suppositions (although the truth will emerge soon no doubt) this does represent a poser for Silvio, who remains far and away the biggest and most powerful media magnate in Italy, owning TV company Mediaset, agency Publitalia and magazine giant Mondadori, even if his political foundation is being rapidly eroded.

And if he falls from grace that will be of compelling interest to many other media owners including one Rupert Murdoch whose efforts to establish Sky in Italy have been repelled by Berlusconi.

Anyway when the Italian court gets to the bottom of this (sorry) we may see a big shake-up in Italian media as well as politics. And in a few years think, “how the hell did all that ever happen?”

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.