In a significant legal development, controversial French pundit Éric Zemmour has been slapped with a 4,000-euro fine (approximately $4,200) for making anti-LGBTQ+ comments that ran afoul of France’s anti-hate speech legislation. The incident dates back to October 15, 2019, when Zemmour appeared on the show “Face à l’info” to discuss the topic of “Medically assisted reproduction: Progress?” His remarks came shortly after France had passed a law granting lesbian couples and single women access to medically assisted reproduction.
Outrage Over Comments
During the program, Zemmour made disparaging remarks, asserting, “This is about the whims of a tiny minority that controls the government and enslaves it for its own benefit and is going to disintegrate society.” He further added, “Because we will have children without a father and I just said that it’s a catastrophe and, secondly, who is going to force all the other French people to pay for these whims?” These comments sparked outrage and led LGBTQ+ organization Stop Homophobie to file a lawsuit against him.
Legal Repercussions and Appeal
After a prolonged legal battle, a judge ruled in late September in favor of Stop Homophobie, stating that Zemmour’s comments presented a contemptuous image of LGBTQ+ individuals, reducing their desire to have children to a mere “selfish whim.” Not only was Zemmour fined, but the director of “Face à l’info,” Serge Nedjar, also received a 4,000-euro fine. Additionally, both Zemmour and Nedjar were ordered to pay 3,000 euros to several LGBTQ+ organizations and 2,000 euros in attorneys’ fees. Zemmour’s attorney has indicated their intention to appeal the decision.
Zemmour’s Controversial Stance
Éric Zemmour’s controversial viewpoints have been widely publicized, particularly during his 2022 presidential campaign, where he advocated an anti-Islamic and anti-immigration platform. He frequently asserted that France had been in decline since the 1970s due to factors including immigration, feminism, and LGBTQ+ rights. Zemmour’s views on LGBTQ+ issues have drawn significant attention; he believes that homosexuality is being promoted through LGBTQ+ “propaganda” and has even compared equal rights for transgender students to Nazism. Furthermore, he has criticized abortion as part of France’s “collective suicide,” alongside other aspects like adopting the euro, implementing no-fault divorce, and serving halal foods in schools.
Despite his extreme views garnering substantial media attention, Zemmour secured only 7% of the vote in the first round of the 2022 presidential election, trailing behind centrist Emmanuel Macron, right-winger Marine Le Pen, and leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
In this case, the French legal system has taken a stand against hate speech, sending a clear message that anti-LGBTQ+ comments will not be tolerated under the law.