French Presidential Contender Guilty of Hate Speech

Published January 18th, 2022 - 08:03 GMT
French Presidential Contender Guilty of Hate Speech
French far-right presidential candidate Eric Zemmour addresses a political meeting in Chateaudun on January 7, 2022 as part of his campaign ahead of the April 2022 presidential election. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP)

French far-right presidential contender Eric Zemmour was convicted of incitement to hatred on Monday by the Paris Criminal Court for comments made in Sept. 2020 about unaccompanied child migrants.

According to French news outlet France24, Zemmour classified the children as, “thieves, killers, and rapists. That’s all they are. We should send them back.”

Zemmour is a member of the Reconquete! (Reconquer!) party and has spent his career as a media figure and author, often making inflated claims and using off-color language while on the talk shows.

The court fined Zemmour a total of €10,000 which is to be paid in the sum of €100 per day for the next 100 days. Zemmour failed to show up for his appointed court hearing on Monday, as he had in Nov. of 2021. He risks jail time if his fines are not paid.

Speaking through his attorney, Olivier Pardo, Zemmour has pledged to appeal Monday’s verdict.

The candidate is no stranger to being penalized for his remarks. He has been likened to ex-US President Donald Trump for similarly outlandish, xenophobic language. Zemmour has been investigated 16 times for comments made on immigration and Islam, and garnered two prior convictions already for hate speech, along with two fines of €10,000 and €3,000.

The presidential elections in France take place this April and despite his popularity with some, Zemmour is on unsure footing when it comes to gaining ground against the incumbent President Macron and other candidates. He is struggling to earn endorsements, 500 of which he must gain from political officials around the country by mid-March to get on the ballot for the race.

For his part, Zemmour issued a press release on Monday - viewed over twitter as well - with the title, “Unaccompanied minors: An ideological and stupid condemnation” and denounced the judicial system as one “invaded by ideologues.”


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