Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi rang a TV show discussing an alleged prostitution scandal, exchanged insults with the host and said the programme was like a “brothel”.
His supporters said he had a right to defend himself from accusations made during the show.
Critics said the call was a show of aggression from an increasingly desperate man.
An angry Mr Berlusconi said the show was “disgusting” and that it was being conducted in a “despicable, vile and repugnant” way.
He urged a political ally in the studio to leave this “incredible TV brothel”.