Italian Professor, Former Adult Star Wins Suit after Being Fired by University

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday March 7, 2023

This cropped photo shows Ruggero Freddi, a.k.a. Carlo Masi
This cropped photo shows Ruggero Freddi, a.k.a. Carlo Masi  (Source:Wikimedia Commons/AlejandroLeloirRey )

It almost sounds like a bad joke: What has two degrees as well as a Ph.D., speaks three languages fluently, and yet gets abruptly fired by a university in the middle of teaching a mathematics course, with no explanation? Answer: A former porn star turned professor.

But it was no laughing matter to Ruggaro Freddi, who sued Sapienza University and won, reported Italian language newspaper La Reppublica. (Story is behind a paywall.)

"The case exploded in 2017," the newspaper recounted, after "students discovered his story as a former porn star and the news... [went] viral within a few days."

Freddi described a hostile work environment to La Repubblica, in which he "felt like there were prejudices around me, which were beyond my skills" to manage.

He was suddenly fired in 2019, GCN reported, despite having been appointed a professor of engineering at Sapienza University and being in the midst of teaching a course. The university furnished no reason for his dismissal, and failed to pay him for the work he had done.

"Freddi then filed a lawsuit in the Civil Court in Rome, and on January 24, the judge ruled in his favor and ordered the university to pay the former gay porn actor €2,500 for the teaching hours he worked and a fine amounting to €1,500 for 'unjustified dismissal,'" the GCN article detailed.

After winning the case, Freddi - who is now a data analyst - characterized his win as a victory for graduate students, saying, "I hope my case gives courage to all Ph.D. students who are exploited after years of studies and specializations." Added Freddi: "I hope that others will also find the courage to speak out."

Wikipedia recalled that the professor worked in the gay adult film industry for six years, from 2004-2009, appearing in productions by Colt Studio Group under the name Carlo Masi. His career was a success, including not just film work but also inclusion in a coffee table book, covering the "Damron 2007 Men's Travel Guide" with Adam Champ, who he later married, and touring internationally for CSG.

Moreover, Wikipedia added, Freddi appeared on television programs in his native Italy, and won a role on Italy's version of "Saturday Night Live," though he did not ever appear on the show. He also enjoyed a brief career as a stage actor.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.