An Argentine lawmaker – Juan Emilio Ameri has resigned after he was caught caressing his partner’s breasts during a virtual session of the lower house of Congress on Thursday. The clip had gone viral and sparked outrage in Argentina. He later claimed that he thought he was offline when the incident took place.
“I have a terrible [internet] connection at home,” Ameri said in a radio interview later. Ameri said that his girlfriend, who had recent breast augmentation surgery, happened to enter the room while he thought he was offline and that he called her over. “Let’s see how the implants look, I told her. Look, this one’s down more, this one’s down less, let’s look at the scars, and she was beside me and I kissed her tits, and that was all,” Juan Emilio Ameri said. Despite his claim that he thought he was offline, footage that promptly went viral shows the legislator looking directly into his computer’s camera before pulling down his partner’s blouse, all in full view of the other members of congress and online viewers.
House president Sergio Massa interrupted the online session to report “a serious offense by a deputy”. “There was a situation that has nothing to do with the normal decorum and operation of this house,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters. He called for the immediate suspension of Ameri. A panel was formed to decide Ameri’s suspension. It later accepted Ameri’s resignation.
“We cannot allow irresponsibility of this magnitude, so we will guarantee that all the rules are applied so that he is sanctioned in the appropriate way according to the seriousness of his acts,” said a statement released by the government’s bloc in the lower house shortly before Ameri’s resignation.
Lawmakers across the world have been hosting virtual meetings during the coronavirus pandemic. In the past too, several politicians have slipped up during these online discussions. Earlier this year, Ireland’s Lawmaker Luke Ming Flanagan appeared to be wearing no trousers during a meeting with his colleagues in the European Parliament.