Several French journalists have been suspended or fired after it is proven that they are in a secret Facebook group of women zwartmaakten, humiliated and adding insult to injury. Via fake Twitteraccounts they had even pestacties set up against those women.
In the private facebook group ‘League of LOL’, with mainly men in their thirties, women were for many years ridiculed. Especially women who are as feminist were considered, were endorsed. They were offended, there were photoshopbeelden made in pornographic poses or there were jokes about rape made about the women.
In addition, from that facebook group also anonymous Twitteraccounts set up which journalistes, authors and activists were harassed and insulted.
The founder of the group is the journalist Vincent Smooth. He was on Monday suspended by the newspaper for which he (as a freelancer) worked. That newspaper, Libération, was behind the secret facebook group come after the investigation team Libération certain facts ascertained.
Also a onlineredacteur of the same paper and a onlineredacteur of musician magazine Les Inrockuptibles were being suspended because of their activities in the facebook group. Also Stephen des Aulnois, the head of a website which says that they are “culture porn”, has now resigned. An editor of the French edition of the online magazine Slate, has admitted to also having been a member of the group. Three journalists from HuffPost were dismissed because of discriminatory comments in the facebook group.
The group has already been established in 2009 and also had members who came from public relations, graphic design or media education.
Des Aulnois admitted that the League or LOL has been guilty of repeated online harassment’. ‘I apologize to anybody that I’m in pain done and difficult have cases … And I am also guilty of years of doing nothing or remaining silent all those years that I knew what was going on.’
According to founder Smooth, there was never a antifeministische weft in the group. “We made jokes about everything and everyone,” he says. But on Twitter, apologized Smooth, however. He says there, among other things, that he is ashamed feels about how he is on Twitter in 2013, joked about rape.’
In the meantime, there are also a number of victims have come forward. One of them testified about how the harassment by the group forced her to get out of journalism. Another woman had a suicide attempt undertaken by the humiliations. Journalist Melanie Wanga says that they Twitter years ago, back toekeerde by the bullying and that the bullies are now their well-earned reward.’
Journalist Nora Bouazzouni and Slate-reporter Lucile Bellan have also indicated that they endorsed were by the group. Also wetenschapspresentator Florence Porcel was a victim. She told French media how she was called by someone posing as the editor of an important news programme. He interviewed her about a non-existing job. Then was the conversation between Porcel and the man was made public. “When that recording was distributed, I have three days out of shame to cry,” she says. Doucet has now admitted that he was behind that fake interview was and has publicly apology offered to Porcel.
‘I remember in 2012, Vincent Smooth told me that using the internet was harassed and that I was threatened with death on Twitter, also testifies to Daphne Bürki on Twitter. “I asked him what I should do, but he replied that I should not complain, that there is now once the trolls are on the internet. Now I understand why he reacted.’
The French media is to the case referred to as the ‘French #MeToo’. The French minister for Digital Affairs, Mounir Mahjoubi, calls the men behind the League of LOL ‘losers’. “It’s a group of guys who are good at laughing with other people, without that they realize that their bullying in real life effect.”
Minister of Equality Marlene Schiappa stresses that online harassment is a crime and that she is considering the punishment for such crimes to increase to six years.