Jim Carrey's new painting enrages Benito Mussolini's granddaughter

By Tucker Reals

/ CBS News

The granddaughter of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini has engaged in a very modern war with supporters of actor-turned-political cartoonist Jim Carrey. The "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" star tweeted a photo of his latest work on Saturday, depicting the real-life scene of the slain Mussolini and his mistress hanging from a steel girder in 1945. It was a message on modern politics from the artist, referencing what he feels are rising fascist tendencies, but the dictator's offspring took personal umbrage.

"You are a bastard," Alessandra Mussolini said in reply to the tweet. She is a far-right politician serving as a Member of the European Parliament for Italy in her own right, but she has also spent decades defending the actions of her grandfather, who allied himself with Adolf Hitler in the run-up to World War II after brutally quashing domestic opponents to refashion Italy as a totalitarian state following the first world war.

If you’re wondering what fascism leads to, just ask Benito Mussolini and his mistress Claretta. pic.twitter.com/uc2wZl0YBu

— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) March 30, 2019

Alessandra Mussolini entered politics after a career as an actress and model. She posed for European editions of Playboy in the 1980s. Her politics have always appeared relatively akin to those of her fascist grandfather, though she rejects the label herself.

Carrey has become a prolific political cartoonist in recent years, with his art often taking aim at President Trump and his allies. The new picture depicts Mussolini hanging from a steel beam at a gas station in Milan after his state execution at the end of World War II, and was sent by Carrey in a tweet saying: "If you're wondering what fascism leads to, just ask Benito Mussolini and his mistress Claretta."

Carrey himself had yet to respond to the personal insult from Mussolini's daughter on Monday. He often leaves critics to bounce around in the online echo chamber without him. But Mussolini (the granddaughter, not the late dictator) found plenty of web warriors happy to engage.

Then-Italian Senator Alessandra Mussolini delivers a speech during a debatein Italy's Parliament in this Nov. 27, 2013 file photo taken in Rome, Italy. Getty

"I think you're confusing Jim Carrey with your murderous grandfather," wrote one Twitter user in defense of the Canadian-born actor, who has U.S. citizenship. The two went back and forth trading insults over the course of Sunday morning.

Carrey had already drawn fire from the right wing in the U.S. for his repeated bashing of Mr. Trump, which ramped-up last year with an unflattering painting that appeared to depict White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — or, as Carry labelled it, "a portrait of a so-called Christian whose only purpose in life is to lie for the wicked."

Carrey has more than 18 million followers on Twitter. He has previously used the platform to voice his opposition to vaccine programs in the U.S. which he claims — against scientific consensus — are linked to the rise in Autism diagnoses in the country.

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First published on April 1, 2019 / 9:34 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tucker Reals

Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.

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