Elton John is embroiled in controversy after he was photographed not wearing a mask outside of a hotel on the Italian island of Capri this week.
According to U.K.’s The Guardian, Italy’s leading consumers’ association, Codacons, filed a complaint with local and regional authorities, saying Elton should be fined more than $1,000 for breaking the region’s mandatory mask rules put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
But a spokesperson for Elton tells The Guardian, “Elton is respectful of local rules and fully supportive of wearing a mask in public to protect himself and others. When pictured, he was at an outdoors restaurant, on his way to his table to sit down and eat with his family. He can clearly be seen putting a mask on immediately after.”
Roberto Russo, a Capri entrepreneur and friend of Elton’s who arranged his travel on the island, backs up this defense, saying Elton followed mask rules during his brief visit.
Codacons is basing its claims on two photos: one that shows Elton posing for a photo with a member of the hotel staff and another of him walking towards a table on the hotel’s terrace.
“He put his arm around someone and greeted people without wearing a mask,” said a spokesperson for Codacons. “He was out in the open in a public space – the law must be respected by everyone, including celebrities from abroad.”
Marino Lembo, the mayor of Capri, told the Guardian he would investigate the claims, but added that he felt they were “a bit exaggerated.”
By Andrea Tuccillo
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