The Eyebrow-Raising Joke Amanda Knox Made About Her Time In Italy

For years after her arrest in 2007 as a suspect in the murder of university student Meredith Kercher, Amanda Knox was continuously lambasted by the media for what was perceived at the time to be her strange behavior following the crime. Though time and distance — as well as a relatively recent rise in the recognition of how gender bias and patriarchal norms frequently skew how women have been portrayed in the media at large — Knox herself has risen as a feminist hero in her own right, especially considering how she was completely acquitted of all charges against her in 2015. (As the 2016 Netflix docuseries "Amanda Knox" examined, Knox's arrest for the crime was also seemingly influenced by misogyny and corruption on the part of Italian prosecutors in the case, as well as a dangerous precedent set by tabloid journalism, per Vanity Fair.)

But while the world has begun to look more kindly upon her in more recent years, it doesn't mean that Knox, who now works as a journalist and published a memoir about her experience in 2013, is still immune to scrutiny. Case in point? A joke she made in reference to her four years imprisoned in Italy, the majority of which was spent awaiting three subsequent trials for Kercher's murder. But is it possible that context is the key here? Keep on scrolling to find out what she said.

Amanda Knox's poorly received joke was made in light of this moment

In 2020, Amanda Knox made a joke five years following her acquittal, and also in response to the November 2020 presidential election just days before President Joe Biden was declared victor over Donald Trump. As Insider reported, Knox alluded to both the tension of the election after four years under the leadership of Trump and her imprisonment in Italy in her tweet: "Whatever happens, the next four years can't be as bad as that four-year study abroad I did in Italy, right?" Oof.

The post was immediately met with a heavy backlash, in which Knox was called out for purportedly trivializing the hardships faced by marginalized groups during Trump's term, along with minimizing the death of her former roommate Meredith Kercher, whose murder she was suspected of in Italy, where both were enrolled in a program abroad. One Twitter user called the tweet called out Knox's privilege as a white woman, sarcastically stating "agreed, the mass persecution of blacks, Muslims, Latinx, & LGBTQ pales in comparison to the tribulations of a single white woman." Another wrote, "Feel bad for the woman who didn't make it back from that study abroad I think *she* had it a lot worse than you and your boo." They perhaps weren't wrong to say as much ... we mean, really!?

Some Twitter users defended Amanda Knox by citing context

While many Internet denizens were quick to point out the poor taste of Amanda Knox's joke during the 2020 election — which seemed dismissive of the death of Meredith Kercher and even of those targeted by the White House administration under Donald Trump — others argued that a lack of context skewed her words against her favor. As one Twitter user noted in response to Knox's tweet, "insensitive tweet, but she's obviously completely joking ... anyone who knows anything abt the details of the amanda knox case would know she's innocent."

Also underlying the attempted dark humor in Knox's joke was the horror of what she experienced as a prisoner in Italy, which Knox wrote about in her 2013 memoir. As the New York Daily News reported shortly before her book was published, Knox was subjected to years of sexual harassment and emotional abuse while incarcerated and was extreme enough to spur suicidal ideation. The experience also affected her physically, as the Daily News summarized: "Every time she washed her hair, it would come out in clumps. Panic attacks would leave her gasping for air. Walking made her dizzy. Only visits from the Catholic chaplain could calm her." Obviously, Knox went through a lot. Context is everything we suppose. 

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

If you or a loved one has experienced a hate crime, contact the VictimConnect Hotline by phone at 1-855-4-VICTIM or by chat for more information or assistance in locating services to help. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.