Juan Emilio Ameri, a married father of three, was suspended from Congress and has since resigned, after he was caught fondling and kissing his girlfriend’s breast during a remote meeting with the country’s Chamber of Deputies.
Argentina has been holding its Congress session via Zoom since the coronavirus pandemic — but Mr Emilio, 47, from Salta, sparked outrage and shock when his partner joined his session on Thursday.
As the Zoom conference was broadcast throughout the lower house, a woman was seen approaching Emilio, and sitting on his lap.
Mr Ameri then appeared to be touching the woman’s body, before he suddenly pulled down her top and started sucking on her breast.
The session was interrupted by the Lower House Speaker Sergio Massa, from the country’s ruling coalition, who announced he wanted to report a “serious offence” committed by the deputy.
“There was a situation that has nothing to do with the normal decorum and operation of this house,” Mr Massa said, before calling for Mr Ameri’s immediate suspension, and the creation of a commission to investigate expelling him.
Mr Ameri, a deputy from Frente de Todo, said he wasn’t aware he was being broadcast, and he thought he’d been disconnected from the Zoom conference. He claimed he’d been disconnected and then reconnected automatically, without his knowledge.
“I’m very ashamed, (I feel) very bad,” he told Radio Con Vos. “Here, throughout the interior of the country, the (internet) connection is very bad.
“We were in session, (but) the internet dropped (out). My partner came out of the bathroom, I asked … how the prostheses were and I gave her a kiss, because 10 days ago she had a breast implant operation.”
Local reports said Mr Ameri was estranged from his wife and identified the girlfriend in the video as one of his political advisers.
Mr Ameri later announced in a tearful interview with Todo Noticias he’d resigned.
“It was serious, really. I take responsibility. I’m very ashamed,” he said.
The incident has made international headlines and quickly went viral on social media.
Mr Massa criticised Mr Ameri, saying the incident had “discredited the entire political class”. He said other politicians had behaved badly during the Zoom sessions, citing examples including people drinking whiskey or falling asleep.
“If we do not act quickly, people lose respect for politics,” he said.