France: Macron under fire for display of hypocrisy over Hitler billboard row

French President Macron has sued a man for depicting him as Adolf Hitler on a billboard. Ironically, Macron had earlier defended Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures insulting Prophet Mohammed as freedom of expression.

Hyderabad: Netizens have accused French President Emmanuel Macron of selective ‘freedom of expression’ and hypocrisy after he sued a billboard owner Michel-Ange Flore, who depicted Macron as Adolf Hitler to protest COVID-19 curbs.

Critics pointed out that Macron, who defended Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures insulting Prophet Mohammed as freedom of expression, sued Michel Ange Flori, the owner of a French street advertising business, as he posted a picture showing President Emmanuel Macron dressed as Adolf Hitler and said that it’s “an exercise in political satire.”

According to TRT World, Macron’s personal lawyers and his party have now filed legal complaints alleging that the depictions were a public insult. Flori said that he has been contacted by the police who were acting on the complaint.

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A netizen Munir A Hussein posted an old video of Emmanuel Macron in which he can be seen saying, “I will always defend in my country the freedom to speak, to write, to think, to draw.”

Critics said that this was a test for Macron after he had supported Charlie Hebdo and that he has clearly failed in it and displayed his hypocrisy. Earlier, the French state defended Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish caricatures insulting Prophet Mohammed.

On October 21st, last year, Macron said, “We will not give up on cartoons and drawings, even if others back down,” speaking to honor school teacher Samuel Paty, who was killed by a Chechen teenager who wanted to avenge Paty’s use of the blasphemous caricatures in a class on freedom of expression.

Another Netizen, Daniel Haqiqaqtjou took a jibe at Macron saying, “Poor little Macron, can’t even take a joke.”

As per media sources, Flori put up the Macron billboards in response to a law adopted by the French parliament this month barring people from some public venues unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or can show a fresh negative test.

The opposition to Macron, accusing him of acting like a dictator, says that the rules trample on civil liberties. In its defense, the administration argues that it needs to encourage greater vaccination rates.

Flori in an interview with Reuters said that the consensus in his country was on the side of Charlie Hebdo,  however, mimicking his critics he added, “when it is a matter of making fun of the president by depicting him as a dictator, then it becomes blasphemy, then it is unacceptable.”

 Jean Ennochi, a lawyer for Macron said that the legal complaint was filed for Macron in his personal capacity because of the offensive nature of the comparison of the “President of the Republic with Adolf Hitler.”

According to TRT World, a representative of Macron’s party said that it had filed a separate complaint alleging insult and incitement of hatred.

“I did not expect this at all. That the president would file a complaint against a French citizen,” Flori said. “I caricature,” he remarked and added that people may or may not like it but it is all the same, caricature will remain caricature.

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