Samuel L. Jackson and Magic Johnson cause quite a stir in Italy.
Samuel L. Jackson and Magic Johnson are both very high-profile names in North America and in most parts of the world. The former, one of the most respected actors in the industry, known for playing many iconic characters, and the latter is widely considered to be the greatest point guard ever to play in the NBA. However, that doesn't mean that they get recognized or even respected at first sight when they travel to other countries. Recently, for example, they were both mistaken for "lazy migrants" while on holiday in Tuscany, Italy.
According to a report from The Independent, the Hollywood actor and retired hoops star were photographed sitting on a bench together, with several luxury shopping bags from names like Louis Vuitton and Prada at their feet. The picture was taken in Forte dei Marmi. According to Johnson's account of the situation, fans started to line up and ask for pictures with the two celebrities. After the fact, the image went viral online, garnering tons of shares across all platforms, but not everyone was happy with what they saw. Many Italians assumed the pair were migrants and were incensed over the idea of a luxury shopping spree done with state money.
Veteran Italian comedy actor Luca Bottura entered the fray, posting a meme of the picture with a caption that, when translated, reads: "Boldrini's resources in Forte dei Marmi shop at Prada with our €35. Share this picture if you are outraged." The reference is to Laura Boldrini, President of the Chamber of Deputies of Italy, who has drawn fierce criticism for her open migration policy. Bottura was in on the joke, but many who shared his meme weren't and instead expressed their "disgust" and "shame" at the perceived actions of the two "migrants." Bottura cleared the joke up on his Facebook page, letting people know that he didn't actually have a beef with Jackson or Johnson and, instead, was simply conducting a social experiment. Nina Moric, an Italian model who also weighed in on the post, insisted that her outrage was meant to "confirm [Italian] prejudices, regardless of what the truth is. None of us are immune to this phenomenon."
Reps for Jackson and Johnson have yet to comment.