Italians angered by Charlie Hebdo cartoon showing quake victims as pasta

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ROME, Sept 2 (Reuters) - French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, victim of a deadly attack by islamist militants in 2015 for its irreverent humor, was criticized by Italians on Friday for portraying victims of an earthquake that killed almost 300 people as different types of pasta.

The cartoon was titled "Earthquake Italian style." It depicted a balding man standing and covered in blood with the moniker "Penne in tomato sauce," a badly scratched up woman next to him labeled "Penne au gratin," and finally feet sticking out between the floors of a collapsed building titled "Lasagne."

Amatrice, a town flattened by last week's quake, is famous for the pasta sauce -- amatriciana -- that carries its name.

The town's mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, who dramatically declared "the town is gone" on the morning after the Aug. 24 earthquake, was baffled by the cartoon.

"How the f**k do you draw a cartoon about the dead!" he said, according to state news agency Ansa. "I'm sure this unpleasant and embarrassing satire does not reflect French sentiment."

The French embassy in Rome published a statement on its web site and Twitter, saying the cartoon "absolutely does not represent" France's position, and is a "caricature by the press (and) the freely expressed opinions are those of the journalists."

While many Italians showed solidarity with the magazine after the 2015 attack, writing "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" (I am Charlie Hebdo) on social media, the cartoon in the magazine's current edition was called "terrible," "in bad taste," and "disrespectful" on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.

Many just wrote, "I'm no longer Charlie Hebdo."

Photos of the aftermath of the Italian earthquake:

31 PHOTOS
Earthquake devastates mountain towns in central Italy
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Earthquake devastates mountain towns in central Italy
PERUGIA, ITALY - AUGUST 24: Rubble surrounds damaged buildings after a strong earthquake hit San Pellegrino near Norcia on August 24, 201 in Perugia, Italy. Central Italy was struck by a powerful, 6.2-magnitude earthquake in the early hours, which has killed at least three people and devastated dozens of mountain villages. Numerous buildings had collapsed in communities close to the epicenter of the quake near the town of Norcia in the region of Umbria, witnesses told Italian media, with an increase in the death toll highly likely (Photo by Awakening/Getty Images)
PERUGIA, ITALY - AUGUST 24: Rubble surrounds damaged buildings after a strong earthquake hit San Pellegrino near Norcia on August 24, 201 in Perugia, Italy. Central Italy was struck by a powerful, 6.2-magnitude earthquake in the early hours, which has killed at least three people and devastated dozens of mountain villages. Numerous buildings had collapsed in communities close to the epicenter of the quake near the town of Norcia in the region of Umbria, witnesses told Italian media, with an increase in the death toll highly likely (Photo by Awakening/Getty Images)
Rescuers search amid rubble following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
A firefighter searches through debris of a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. A strong earthquake in central Italy reduced three towns to rubble as people slept early Wednesday, with reports that as many as 50 people were killed and hundreds injured as rescue crews raced to dig out survivors. (Italian Firefighters via AP)
A man walks amid rubbles after an earthquake struck in Amatrice Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks.(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
PERUGIA, ITALY - AUGUST 24: People view a damaged building after a strong earthquake hit San Pellegrino near Norcia on August 24, 201 in Perugia, Italy. Central Italy was struck by a powerful, 6.2-magnitude earthquake in the early hours, which has killed at least three people and devastated dozens of mountain villages. Numerous buildings had collapsed in communities close to the epicenter of the quake near the town of Norcia in the region of Umbria, witnesses told Italian media, with an increase in the death toll highly likely (Photo by Awakening/Getty Images)
A man is rescued alive from the ruins following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Rescuers work following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
A man is carried away after been rescued alive from the ruins following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
A man is carried away after having been rescued alive from the ruins following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
A man is rescued alive from the ruins following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
A man is carried away after having been rescued alive from the ruins following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
Rescuers and people walk along a road following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
A damaged house is seen following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
A bust is seen on the ground following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
Rescuers work on a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUAL COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH A body is carried away by rescuers following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca
A rescuer stands in front of a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Ciro De Luca TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A partially collapsed church is seen following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Steve Scherer
A collapsed house is seen following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Rescuers work in Amatrice, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, where a magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. Turistic sign at right reads in Italian : "Amatrice, one of the most beautiful hamlets in Italy" . (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Rescuers search amid rubble following an earthquake in Amatrice Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Rescuers search amid rubble of collapsed houses following an earthquake in Pescara Del Tronto, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
An injured man is rescued from a collapsed building following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
PERUGIA, ITALY - AUGUST 24: A damaged building is seen after a strong earthquake hit Amatrice on August 24, 201 in Perugia, Italy. Central Italy was struck by a powerful, 6.2-magnitude earthquake in the early hours, which has killed at least three people and devastated dozens of mountain villages. Numerous buildings had collapsed in communities close to the epicenter of the quake near the town of Norcia in the region of Umbria, witnesses told Italian media, with an increase in the death toll highly likely (Photo by Awakening/Getty Images)
AMATRICE, Aug. 24, 2016-- Photo taken on Aug. 24, 2016 shows damaged houses after the earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy. The death toll in a strong earthquake in central Italy has risen to 38, authorities said Wednesday. The 6.0 magnitude earthquake hit the city of Rieti at 3:32 a.m. Wednesday, with a shallow depth of 4.2 km, according to the National Institute of Volcanology and Seismology. (Xinhua/Jin Yu via Getty Images)
Rescue and emergency services personnel searches for victims with a dog in the central Italian village of Amatrice, on August 24, 2016 after a powerful earthquake rocked central Italy. A powerful earthquake rattled a remote area of central Italy on August 24, 2016, leaving at least 120 people dead and scenes of carnage in mountain villages. With 368 people injured and an unknown number trapped under rubble, the figure of dead and wounded was expected to rise in the wake of the pre-dawn quake, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi warned. / AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Volunteers join rescue and emergency services personnel searching for victims in the central Italian village of Amatrice, on August 24, 2016 after a powerful earthquake rocked central Italy. A powerful earthquake rattled a remote area of central Italy on August 24, 2016, leaving at least 120 people dead and scenes of carnage in mountain villages. With 368 people injured and an unknown number trapped under rubble, the figure of dead and wounded was expected to rise in the wake of the pre-dawn quake, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi warned. / AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
PERUGIA, ITALY - AUGUST 24: A damaged building is seen after a strong earthquake hit Amatrice on August 24, 201 in Perugia, Italy. Central Italy was struck by a powerful, 6.2-magnitude earthquake in the early hours, which has killed at least three people and devastated dozens of mountain villages. Numerous buildings had collapsed in communities close to the epicenter of the quake near the town of Norcia in the region of Umbria, witnesses told Italian media, with an increase in the death toll highly likely (Photo by Awakening/Getty Images)
Two people hug each other next to the remains of a collapsed house following an earthquake in Pescara Del Tronto, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. The magnitude 6 quake struck at 3:36 a.m. (0136 GMT) and was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome where residents of the capital felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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Twelve people were killed in the January 2015 attack by gunmen accusing the journal of blasphemy in printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has not commented, but other Italian politicians pulled no punches. Giorgia Meloni, leader of the right-wing Brothers of Italy party, said: "This isn't satire; it's garbage."

Charlie Hebdo responded to the controversy by publishing yet another earthquake cartoon on its Facebook page that refers to the fact that in the past organized crime has been found to control various Italian construction companies.

The follow-up vignette portrays someone half-buried in the rubble and reads: "Italians, it's not Charlie Hebdo who has built your homes, it's the mafia!"


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