Eastern Europe

Macron files a lawsuit over his representation as Hitler

13:48, 29 July 2021
Macron files a lawsuit over his representation as Hitler Photo: Global Look Press/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alex Edelman

The image was placed on a billboard in southern France.

French President Emmanuel Macron has filed a suit against Michel-Ange Flori, the billboard owner who portrayed the President as Hitler.

The image appeared after the recent measures introduced by Macron in the fight against COVID. Among them, there is a health pass, compulsory vaccination for certain categories, the right to suspend the non-vaccinated, elimination of free PCR tests, and others.

The 3x4m billboard is situated near the town of Toulon, a coastal town not far from Marseille.

Flori made a post on Twitter “I have just learnt that I will be heard at the Toulon police department tomorrow over the legal action taken by the President of the Republic. Thus, in Macronia you can mock a prophet’s ass, which is satire, but it is blasphemy to depict the President as a dictator.”

He also explained that the image seeks to question "the democracy where decisions are taken without discussion at a health council." Flori’s lawyer added that the image is excessive but it is a principle of caricature.  

The image on the billboard represents Macron in Hitler’s appearance with a swastika-looking acronym of the President’s party LREM on the left arm. The message near the picture says “Obey. Get vaccinated”.

The Toulon Prosecutor's Office has opened a probe for "public insult".

There used to be a section "Insulting the President of the Republic" in the French legislature which was rescinded in 2013. Still, the President can put someone on a trial over personal insults and public defamation.

On the other hand, such prosecutions occur rather seldom since they are regarded as an attack on freedom of expression in the country famous for its love for satire and self-irony.

Flori possesses some 400 billboards in the region. This is not the first time he makes fun of politicians; mocking images appear on a regular basis. He has already been fined €32,000 for his satiric images.