Professor and ex-gay porn star Ruggero Freddi wins unfair dismissal lawsuit against university

Ruggero Freddi

Italian professor Ruggero Freddi has won a lawsuit against his university after claiming he was fired unfairly due to his past as a gay porn star.

Freddi, who starred in adult films under the name Carlo Masi, obtained degrees in mathematics and engineering. Following his graduation, he became a professor at the faculty of engineering at the Sapienza University of Rome.

According to the lecturer, he noticed an ever-increasing hostile environment in his workplace. Talking to an Italian newspaper, he said: “I felt like there were prejudices around me, which were beyond my skills as a teacher and as a data analyst, the role I occupy today.”

In 2019, he was dismissed by the university with apparently no explanation. To rub salt into the wound, his employers refused to pay him for 60 hours of work. He went on to file a lawsuit against them, which was dealt with by the civil court in Rome.

Siding in Freddi’s favour, the court ordered the university to pay out €2,500 (£2,200) and fined them €1,500 (approximately £1,300), according to reports.

“I was forced to sue,” he said. “I hope my case gives courage to all PhD students who are exploited after years of studies and specialisations.

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“Now I have a normal job, with a salary. I hope that others will also find the courage to speak out.”

He hopes to encourage LGBTQ+ academics with a past in sex work to feel empowered.

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Speaking of his past as an adult film star with Times Higher Education in 2018, Ruggero Freddi said: “I wanted to grow, and since I couldn’t grow any more in the porn industry I decided that it was time to do something completely new. The truth is that I became too rich and famous to stay interested in that job [porn].”

Freddi went on to say that his journey into porn was by chance and he originally thought emails from producers Colt Studio were a joke. He went on to appear in films such as Big N Plenty and Man Country.

“From the porn industry, I have learned the importance of self-promotion – this is something that everybody should learn,” he added.

“You have to let the world know what an amazing person you are because nobody will come looking to find out for themselves.”

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