22:44 GMT +318 October 2018
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    Beziers Mayor Robert Menard

    Outrage Ensues as French Mayor Appears to Use Woman's Death in Advertisement

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    On Monday, French Mayor Robert Ménard released a graphic new poster for his campaign to get TGV, France's high-speed rail service, to extend its reach into the nation's southwestern Occitanie region.

    ​The poster says, "With the high-speed train, she'd have suffered less."

    Though the suggestion itself shocked netizens, many criticized Ménard, who is mayor of the town of Béziers, for taking advantage of the June murder of Émilie Hallouin, a 24-year-old who was killed after her husband tied her to a high-speed railway in Beauvilliers, France, International Business Times UK reported.

    Both Hallouin and her husband, Guillaume Gremy, were killed by a TGV train.

    Hours after the poster began to make the rounds on social media, people let their opinions fly.

    ​"It takes a sick mind and a sewer moral to imagine such a campaign," Sophia Chikirou wrote on Twitter. "Communicators too must be held accountable."

    ​"When I saw this picture for the first time, I thought it was a fake from FB's ‘Dark Humor' pages, but no, it's unfortunately real," said another user. "Here is the advertising campaign of a misogynist practicing feminicide culture. Shame on you, Menard."

    ​But it wasn't just outraged locals and Twitter users banging the drums of war against Ménard: public officials got in on the bashing, too.

    "I appeal to the minister @MarleneSchiappa to launch legal proceedings without delay against the odious campaign launched by the mayor of Béziers," Sébastien Denaja, the spokesperson for France's Socialist Party, said in tweet.

    ​Laurence Rossignol, France's secretary of state for the family, senior citizens and autonomy, even chimed in.

    "The indignation is essential, but it is also necessary to act: I have a complaint with the Prosecutor of Beziers to ask for the withdrawal of the posters and the prosecution against the authors," she said.

    ​The outrage hasn't done much to convince Ménard, et al, of their wrongdoing.

    Responding to the issue, the 64-year-old politician fired off a series of tweets calling his critics "paranoid" and that the poster says "speaks volumes about the moral order that plagues [France]."

    ​Despite the similarities and shocking caption, Ménard concluded that the image is just a reference "to the world of Westerns." He later added that he was "ashamed" for Rossignol's move to "mix a victim of horrible news with our campaign."

    The IB Times UK reported that Ménard is by no means a stranger to controversial ads. In October 2016, he launched a poster campaign that said, "The state is imposing them on us: That's it, they are coming."

    The campaign was in response to the French government's plan for 40 migrants from the Calais camp to arrive in Béziers.

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