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An Italian which aired a weird prank, involving a female singer being groped by one of her backing dancer, has caused outrage.

Singer Emma Marrone appeared on Italy's Canale 5 to perform a song but as she tried to get through her a routine a creepy backing dancer approaches her and begins groping and grabbing Marrone.

Marrone looks far from impressed as he tries to grab her boobs and leans into her. In the clip she can be seen pushing the man away and repeatedly telling him, 'No, a bit less.'

Credit: Amici di Maria de Filippi/Canale 5

She can then be heard telling staff: "I don't want to be a prude - but when he touches me so much, I can't sing. This isn't dancing." She ends up pushing the 'dancer' to the ground and gets set to storm off stage.

It was at this point the show's producer admitted that the thing was a prank. It doesn't look like it was much fun for Marrone, though.

The programme gave Marrone an award after airing the clip. While accepting it, she said: "In that moment, I felt very strong emotions."

After the clip was aired on Monday night campaigners launched a petition to introduce new media guidelines regarding sexual violence - it's already picked up over 17,000 signatures.

Credit: Amici di Maria de Filippi/Canale 5

Women's rights activist, Cristiana De Lia told The Local: "In a country like Italy, affected by high levels of femicide and violence against women, the mass media is contributing to a dangerous culture.

"As well as affecting the singer, a 'joke' like this affects all victims of violence and abuse, making them believe that abuse is normal - so normal, in fact, that we should laugh about it."

The talent show Amici di Maria de Filippi also posted it to its Facebook page with the caption: "'A little less' #QuoteoftheDay! Did you see the joke we played on our Emma Marrone?"

Resulting in dozens of comments from people saying it wasn't funny and that it makes a mockery of sexual harassment.

Credit: Amici di Maria de Filippi/Canale 5

Host of the show, Maria de Filippi, attempted to shut down angry viewers, saying in a statement: "If some people think that the joke was sexual assault, that means the world has turned upside down.

"I don't think that anyone who is even slightly rational could think such a thing."

Featured Image Credit: Amici di Maria de Filippi/Canale 5

Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist at LADbible. Claire graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a BA in journalism. She’s previously worked at Trinity Mirror. Since joining LADbible, Claire has worked on pieces for the UOKM8? mental health campaign, the Yemen crisis, life in the Calais Jungle as well as a profile of a man who is turning himself into a cyborg.

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