Seven Fined For Anti-Semitic Posts About Miss France Contestant
Ms Benayoum took part in the beauty contest last December during which she revealed that her father is of Italian-Israeli origin. In subsequent days, the young woman became the target of an abuse campaign with users leaving comments such as “Hitler forgot about this one” or “Don’t vote for a Jew”.
During the trial, the seven defendants admitted that they posted the messages, but denied they were anti-Semitic. Some of them argued that they were an attempt to make a political statement and defend the cause of the Palestinians. The court didn’t side with them. The judge ruled that their posts expressed “a rejection of a person because of their origins” or “because of their presumed religion” and that the messages targeted Ms Benayoum directly.
According to France24, in addition to their fine, each defendant was ordered to pay a euro in damages to Ms Benayoum and to each of the several organisations fighting racism and anti-Semitism, which joined the lawsuit. Four of them, whom the court said didn’t fully grasp the seriousness of their actions, were told to attend a civics class.
The news of the verdict received positive feedback on social media…
bravo, en espérant que ça leur passera l'envie de recommencer !— Nanie (@jgilb48) November 3, 2021
…although many users were appalled by the defendants' actions.
Tweet: "The number of a**holes living on Earth is limitless."
La réserve de connards est sans fond— MarieShani☃️ (@MarieShani) November 3, 2021
Tweet: "We are approaching 2022 and humankind still hasn't evolved at this point."
On s approche de 2022 et l’être humain sur ce point n’a toujours pas évolué pfffff— Malika Skerlep (@skerlep1) November 4, 2021
Others lamented the fact that the court imposed such small fines.
Tweet: "Being anti-Semitic is therefore no more serious than driving at 90km/h on a national road."
Être antisémite n’est donc pas plus grave que de rouler à 90kmh sur une nationale.— Actarus (@Actarus_dEuphor) November 4, 2021
Tweet: "The fines are ridiculous. Such small amounts won’t dissuade people from posting such comments. This country is hopeless.”
Ridicule les amendes 🙄 ça fera rien du tout c pas assez sévère pour dissuader ce pays est désespérant 🙄😡😡— Valérie Lota (@lota_valerie) November 3, 2021
Tweet: "A stupid question, but why wasn't the platform's responsibility addressed? If users report to the platform, it would be logical for it to initiate proceedings against the perpetrators, right?"
Une question bête, mais pourquoi la responsabilité de la plateforme n'est pas engagée? Logiquement si des utilisateurs font un signalement à la plateforme, il serait logique que celle-ci entame une procédure à l'encontre des protagonistes, non?— Marc KissCooL (@marckisscool) November 4, 2021
Jean-Louis Lagarde, a lawyer for the MRAP anti-racism association, welcomed the verdict, although he noted that the punishment was "light".