UPyD deputy stirs up controversy with comments on gender violence

Former actor Toni Cantó wrote on Twitter that most complaints by women are “false”

UPyD deputy Toni Cantó, pictured outside Congress.
UPyD deputy Toni Cantó, pictured outside Congress.Cristobal Manuel (EL PAÍS)

Just one day after he apologized for comments he made on gender violence, UPyD deputy Toni Cantó continued to create more controversy on Tuesday when he said that the government cannot attempt to draft equality laws that are unfavorable to men.

During a television interview, Cantó, who serves on the equality commission in Congress, reiterated his apology for posting a message on Twitter saying that the majority of gender violence complaints are “false” and “prosecutors don’t investigate them.”

“It is very difficult to explain yourself in 140 characters [the maximum number of letters and numbers allowed on a tweet]. You run the risk that they can impale you,” he told TV station Antena 3.

The UPyD said he had mixed up some figures given by Federgen, an advocacy group that is affected by the Gender Laws, which claims that since 2004 Spain has received some 2.08 billion euros from the European Union to handle gender violence complaints.

Cantó said that he was just “trying to give a voice to people who are negatively affected by this law, but that doesn’t mean that I am trashing it or I don’t sympathize with female victims.”

“You cannot have equality or come up with equality policies that are detrimental to men. Currently, men are at a disadvantage in divorce situations, or at times when criminal complaints are filed against them without any proof,” said the former actor.

“There is going to come a time when someone will have to talk about this issue without people crucifying him,” he said.

Juan Manuel Moreno, the secretary of state for social services and equality, called Cantó’s comments “a blunder” and accused him of being “frivolous.” In a radio interview, he said that 80 percent of the women who suffer from gender violence do not file complaints.

Calls for Cantó to resign from the commission also grew stronger. Moisés González, the education and equality spokesman for the European Socialists, demanded that the UPyD official resign from Congress for comparing female victims “with delinquents and liars based on data that doesn’t exist and that is absolutely false.”

Luis Velasco, UPyD deputy at the Madrid regional parliament, said the party understands Cantó “made a terrible mistake” with his statements but has left the decision whether or not to resign up to him.

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