'Il Caso Tortora': Assuming the Celebrity's Guilt

Silvia Vacirca


On Friday, June 17th 1983, the face of Portobello, Enzo Tortora, is put under arrest for drug trafficking and mafia crimes. With these words, on Tg2, that day, Italy followed the tv images displaying the famous anchorman being arrested. The role played by media, which circulated not verified news and espoused almost unanimously the 'guilt hypotesis', in the shaping of court cases and public perception of the facts was relevant. 'Il caso Tortora' was an impressive example of spectacular justice. In the light of the scholar Steven Connor's words, that “It is the destiny and function of the celebrity to be exposed to scandal and absurdity and to bear its mark forever” (Connor, 2005, p. 4), this paper intends to focus on the media construction of the 'guilty narrative', in order to underline the possible presence of pre-conditions that could have favoured the destruction of his public persona and the ways through which his 'presumption of guilt' could be linked to his status as TV celebrity.

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