Beppe Grillo

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Beppe Grillo (2015)
Signature of Beppe Grillo

Giuseppe Piero "Beppe" Grillo (born July 21, 1948 in Genoa ) is an Italian politician , comedian , political cabaret artist and actor . He is the founder of the MoVimento 5 Stelle party .


After training as an accountant, he was discovered during an audition at RAI in Milan. The TV presenter Pippo Baudo who was present became aware of Grillo. Then he played for two years (1977-1978) with the show Secondo Voi . In 1979 he took part in the television shows Luna Park and Fantastico .

On the afternoon of December 7th, 1981, Grillo lost control of his Chevrolet Blazer K5 on a military road that leads from Limone Piemonte via the Colle di Tenda . The vehicle skidded over a layer of ice and fell into a canyon 80 meters deep. Beppe saved himself by jumping out of the car before falling. Three of his four passengers, a married couple and their 9-year-old son, died in the accident. Because of the incident, Grillo was sentenced to fourteen months in prison on March 14, 1985 for negligent homicide.

In the 1980s, programs like Te la do io l'America (1982, 4 episodes) and Te lo do io il Brasile (1984, 6 episodes) followed, in which he told anecdotes about his travel experiences in the USA and Brazil. His popularity continued to grow, and he hosted the specially developed TV show Grillometro . For his role as Giovanni in the film No Time for Miracles ( Cercasi Gesù ) he was awarded the David di Donatello and the Nastro d'Argento des Sindacato Nazionale Giornalisti Cinematografici Italiani as best young actor in 1982.

In 1986 his appearances got more and more political and even satire, where he often attacked Italian politicians directly. In 1987 he attacked the Socialist Party (PSI) and its leader Bettino Craxi on the occasion of his visit to China. Grillo said: "If the Chinese are all socialists, who are they stealing from?" This question alluded to the PSI, which is notorious for corruption. As a consequence, Grillo was largely excluded from public television. A few years later, the PSI disbanded as a result of a nationwide corruption scandal (“ Tangentopoli ”) that was exposed by the Mani pulite investigation. Craxi lived in Tunisia until his death in 2000; returning to Italy, he would face imprisonment for several convictions given in his absence.

Grillo's TV appearances became increasingly rare in the 1990s. The initiative for his banishment from television programs came from politicians who had been attacked by him for their financial irregularities. One of his last shows was broadcast by RAI in 1993 and reached 16 million viewers. After the parliamentary elections in Italy in 1994 there was a change of government: the media mogul Silvio Berlusconi became prime minister.

In the late 1990s, Grillo performed with great success in theaters and arenas in Italy and abroad. He dealt with topics such as energy policy, corruption , freedom of expression and globalization . He runs a daily updated blog, available in Italian, English and Japanese. According to Technorati , this blog was at times one of the top ten most visited blogs in the world; for example, in April 2008 he was ranked 15th. Grillo received numerous letters of appreciation and support from celebrities, such as B. by Antonio Di Pietro (former Italian Minister of Infrastructure), Fausto Bertinotti (former President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies ), Renzo Piano (Italian architect) and Nobel Prize winners such as Dario Fo , Joseph E. Stiglitz , the Dalai Lama and Muhammad Yunus .

On September 1, 2005, thanks to the support of readers of his blog, Grillo bought a full-page advertisement in the Italian daily La Repubblica , in which he called for the dismissal of the director of the Banca d'Italia Antonio Fazio because of the Antonveneta banking scandal. In October 2005, Time magazine selected him as one of the “European Heroes 2005” for his constant fight against corruption and economic scandals. On November 22, 2005, Grillo bought an entire page in the International Herald Tribune, suggesting that members of the Italian Parliament should not represent citizens if they were ever convicted of a crime. At the moment (2006?) His blog contains a regularly updated list of Italian MPs who have been convicted of crimes - the operation “Parlamento Pulito” (German: clean parliament ). On July 26, 2007, Grillo was given the opportunity to address the members of the European Parliament . He pointed out the dangers of what he believed to be negative current Italian politics. On this occasion Grillo also promoted his protest initiative V-Day (Vaffanculo-Day) on September 8, 2007. The first V-Day was suggested by him in order to convince the citizens of Italy to sign a petition to denounce their criminal MPs To remove mandates.

Beppe Grillo on V-Day 2007 in Bologna

On February 19, 2008, he made an appeal to Germany, which was published in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit :

“Italy appeals to the German brothers: declare war on us! We are happy to surrender. You don't even have to waste a shot. We will let rain bunks and mimosas rain on you: you are our last hope. And while you are preparing the tanks, you could take care of our public employees. We are already sending you the garbage from Campania every day - please take the politicians from us too! We pay you well. Not with Parmalat or Cirio bonds, not even with Alitalia shares, I guarantee you that. You won't get any government bonds either, I swear. Italy has the highest public debt in Europe, around 1,626 billion euros. If Italy had to pay off all of its government bonds, the Italian state would be bankrupt. But take the politicians from us! [...]. "

- Beppe Grillo.

In this appeal, Grillo also warned urgently against Silvio Berlusconi's return to power ( Romano Prodi was President of the Council of Ministers at the time ):

“Berlusconi is a self-made man whom a couple of friends helped. Friendship is sacred in Italy, and if the friends are called Bettino Craxi […] Craxi pushed through a law that gave Berlusconi ad hoc three television channels. […] Berlusconi also owns Mondadori , the largest Italian publishing house. He won the bid after his lawyer Cesare Previti bribed the judges, Previti ended up in custody for it. If Angela Merkel owned three television stations and 40 newspapers and magazines, she would not need a grand coalition. In the elections she would get 80 percent of the vote. "

- Beppe Grillo.

Grillo also denounced the Italian Parliament:

“You will find 24 MPs convicted of last resort : convicted of crimes ranging from the formation of an armed group to fraud and perjury to belonging to the Mafia . In addition to these 24 fine specimens, there are also all those parliamentarians who were convicted in the first and second instance, and finally those whose sentences are statute-barred - all in all around a hundred crooks. For us, statute of limitations means that the sentence was issued too late to end up in prison. The 90-year-old Giulio Andreotti is the world record holder of the limitation period . He was convicted of favoring the Mafia - although the sentence was already statute barred when it was pronounced. For this he was rewarded with a tenure as senator for life. […] MPs and senators are not elected by the Italians, but by the party secretaries. That is why there are wives, lovers, employees, bag carriers, yes-men, convicts, Mafiosi and Camorristi in Parliament . The citizen may only tick one symbol. "

- Beppe Grillo.

MoVimento 5 place

Grillo during the election campaign ahead of the 2013 general election

In the parliamentary elections in Italy 2013 , the MoVimento 5 Stelle movement took part - the name refers to the five guiding “stars” (water, environment, transport, internet, development) of the founding program. Recent polls before the election saw the move at 17.5% of the vote.

In the elections, the MoVimento 5 position was able to assert itself against the political establishment. It reached 25% from a standstill, turning “all the certainties” of the past decades on its head: “A movement that has no money, no television stations, no daily newspaper, no publishing house, no banks, managed to become the strongest party. " Petra Reski wrote in 2013 that there have been politicians in Italy for 20 years" who come to terms with the Mafia and see the country as a private treasure trove ".


The V-Day (meaning “skin-off-your-ass-day”) is a protest initiative that turns against mafia politicians because they are overpaid and ruin the state. The V stands for the Italian curse vaffanculo , which literally means “ kiss my ass”, meaning “shear the hell out of it”. Important central demands are to withdraw the mandate of convicted parliamentarians, that politicians are only elected for two legislative terms and that politicians should be elected directly instead of via party lists . Because Grillo himself has a criminal record for a car accident in 1981, he is not running for political office. So far, action days have taken place on September 8, 2007 and April 25, 2008.


The Italian journalist Gad Lerner described Grillo as a populist in a documentary and accused him of behaving in the same way as the politicians whom Grillo criticized on various occasions. The documentary produced by the documentary filmmaker Matan Rochlitz and originally 22 minutes long was broadcast on the news channel Al Jazeera English in June 2008 and later published on YouTube . Grillo offered a version shortened to 10 minutes on his blog. All critical statements were cut out, which Grillo brought in the press with the accusation of operating criticism censorship and putting himself in a better light through targeted manipulations.

On April 30, 2008, the Italian Ministry of Finance made the tax data of all Italian citizens available on the World Wide Web and made available to everyone in a previously unique campaign . It emerged from this that Beppe Grillo had declared a taxable annual income of almost 4.3 million euros in 2005. The hitherto undreamed-of level of his income and his reaction to the disclosure of the income data caused some violent outrage and criticism among his supporters. His call for an immediate blocking of tax data was barely approved by his blog followers. He was accused of contradicting his demand for transparency. Many disappointed followers wondered to what extent he steered his movement out of conviction; his life, his financial situation and his own behavior contradict the slogans he propagated. Grillo has also been accused of leading his movement for financial reasons.

The electoral success of Grillos MoVimento 5 Stelle 2013 and the subsequent stalemate in parliament were received abroad with concern about the future of the euro zone and Italy. For example, the SPD candidate for Chancellor at the time, Peer Steinbrück, announced that two “clowns”, Berlusconi and Grillo, had won the election. In response to this statement, Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano canceled a planned meeting with Steinbrück at short notice. The British news magazine The Economist chose the headline Send in the clowns for an analysis of the Italian general election .

Referring to Grillo's hesitant stance with regard to his movement's possible participation in government, Zeit published online shortly after the 2013 Italian parliamentary elections a comment by Ulrich Ladurner , an editor from South Tyrol (Italy) , who described Grillo's stance as irresponsible.


  • 1982: No time for miracles (Cercasi Gesù)
  • 1985: Scemo di guerra
  • 1988: Topo Galileo

Television broadcasts

  • 1977-1978: Secondo voi
  • 1979: Luna Park
  • 1979: Fantastico
  • 1981: Te la do io l'America (four episodes)
  • 1984: Te lo do io il Brasile (six episodes)
  • 1985: Grillometro


Web links

Commons : Beppe Grillo  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ( Memento from November 2, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 369 kB) MOVIMENTO 5 STELLE (registration), accessed on February 27, 2013
  2. ( Memento from January 29, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) biografia (accessed on March 1, 2013)
  3. precipita la jeep di Beppe Grillo Tre morti, l'è attore incolume. La Stampa of December 8, 1981, page 7. Available online at
  4. ^ Gavin Jones, Comic Grillo shakes up Italian politics with shock win, Chicago Tribune, May 21, 2012. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  5. ^ Beppe Grillo: Weblogger and Italian enfant terrible Telepolis,, April 12, 2008
  6. Dario Fo Joseph E. Stiglitz ( Memento from February 26, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Muhammad Yunus ( Memento from October 11, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  7. Jeff Israely: Seriously Funny ( Memento from June 16, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (black text on black background can be read by marking) , Time Europe
  8. ^ Clean up the parliament ( Memento from January 12, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Video clip Youtube
  10. Beppe Grillo's blog
  11. a b c, 08/2008 Germans, please conquer us! (accessed on February 27, 2013)
  12. Italy before the election: Benedict harms Berlusconi - Handelsblatt
  13. Petra Reski / Ex-comedian Beppe Grillo (accessed on March 6, 2013)
  14. Michael Braun: With the finger against Italy's politicians . In: . September 10, 2007.
    Phil Stewart: Italy's "V-Day" protest targets news media ( Memento of October 5, 2008 in the Internet Archive ). In: Reuters UK . April 25, 2008
  15. ^ Corriere della Sera , January 22, 2009: Quando Grillo tagliò Gad Lerner
  16. ^ Spiegel Online, May 1, 2008
  17. ^ Corriere della Sera, April 30, 2008
    Repubblica, April 30, 2008
    Repubblica, May 1, 2008
  18. ^ Government crisis in Rome: Steinbrück criticizes Italy's two "clowns" , Spiegel Online February 27, 2013.
  19. Italy's President: "Clowns" statement - Napolitano cancels conversation with Steinbrück , Spiegel Online February 27, 2013.
  20. Send in the clowns , The Economist March 2, 2013.
  21. ^ "Clowns" debate: Grillo calls Steinbrück's statement weak-headed , Spiegel Online February 28, 2013.
  22. ^ Ulrich Ladurner: Coalition negotiations: Grillo acts irresponsibly. In: Zeit Online , March 2, 2013