In a Tweet posted on April 21st, 2017, two days before the first round of the French presidential election, a Twitter account declared, based on a video, that Emmanuel Macron washes his hands after shaking hands with workers. However, the cited video was filmed after a fishing sequence, and not after a meeting with workers.
— L'Imposture Macron (@nomacron) April 21, 2017
This video was shared by several Twitter accounts hostile to Emmanuel Macron, criticizing the En Marche candidate’s social contempt. The original sequence is extracted from a documentary on the ex-minister of Economy, broadcast in November 2016 on the French television channel France 3. Emmanuel Macron wipes his hands with a wet wipe after having handled an eel during a meeting with some fishermen.
The rumor that Emmanuel Macron washed his hands after having shaken those of workers arose from a fake interview which appeared in June 2016 on the French satirical website Le Gorafi. “When I shake a poor person’s hands, I feel dirty for the rest of my day“, the candidate is claimed to have said. This fake quote was taken seriously by some pages supporting Vladimir Putin and by websites linked to the Far Right, such as Résistance Républicaine.
During his eventful visit to the Whirlpool factory on Wednesday, April 26th, Emmanuel Macron was confronted with this rumor multiple times.
-Salariée : On est des ouvriers, on a les mains propres, vous nous serrez la main ?
-Macron : J'ai toujours serré la main de qui que ce soit
— Etienne Baldit (@EtienneBaldit) April 26, 2017
Etienne Baldit, a journalist at Lab d’Europe 1, reported that Macron was notably challenged by a woman who asked him if he would accept to shake workers’ hands. “I’ve always shaken hands with anybody”, the candidate answered, as we can see in the video posted on his Facebook account (starting from 30 min 27 sec).
We hear other Whirlpool workers refer to this rumor in the last minute of the video, less audibly.