During an “anti-Front National” protest march in Paris, did demonstrators chant “Jews, thieves, murderers”?

A video shared on Facebook and Twitter on April 16th purportedly showed demonstrators participating in a “anti-Front National” protest march in Paris chanting “Jews, thieves, murderers”. In reality, demonstrators were chanting “cops, rapists, murderers”.

The post was notably shared by Gilbert Collard, the Deputy of Front National in Gard (South of France) and Secretary General of Marine Blue Gathering (a French political coalition of the right-wing and far-right). It was also shared by the columnist, Gilles-William Goldnadel and Jordan Bardella, departmental FN assistant in Seine-Saint-Denis (a French department located in the North East of Paris). Both Gilles-William Goldnadel and Jordan Bardella were surprised by this “[anti-racism protest] that stinks of racism!”.

Translation: “Jews, thieves [sic], murderers!” chant anti-FN demonstrators in the 19th arrondissement of Paris: antiracism stinks of racism!”

Several web users rapidly responded that demonstrators were actually chanting “cops, rapists, assassins” in reference to the assault of Theo Lusaka who was severely injured after being hit by an expandable baton, on February 2nd in Aulnay-sous-Bois (Seine Saint-Denis).

A photo showing the same slogan written on a banner was also published.

Note: the English version of this piece was updated on 5th May 2017 to correct the confusion between the translation of two words – voleurs (thieves) and violeurs (rapists).



Has François Fillon been “cleared of all charges”?

On the 11th of April, the blog lescrutateur.com claimed that François Fillon had been “cleared of all charges” made against him. This theory, shared 25,000 times on Facebook and widely spread on email, is false. The former prime minister of France is still under investigation for allegedly fictitiously employing his wife and children as parliamentary assistants.

The blog draws on legal arguments put forward before Fillon’s indictment on the 14th of March, including an opinion piece written by Jean-Paul Garraud on the 24th of February. Garraud is the “President of the Union of Magistrates”, a former parliamentarian of the right wing party UMP (Union for a Popular Movement), and candidate of the Republican Party for the legislative elections in June. In the piece he reveals that the judicial investigation opened on that same day by the Financial Prosecutor’s Office (Parquet national financier or PNF) is “made out against X“, which means according to him that “there are no elements in the investigation sufficient for the indictment of François Fillon”.

The judicial inquiry against X in no way acquits Fillon but would enable judges to extend the charges if other misdemeanors were discovered. On the 14th of March, François Fillon was also put under investigation for “misuse of public funds”. Fillon’s wife, Penelope Fillonand Marc Joulaud were also put under investigation.

The piece in lescrutateur.com also compiles several arguments circulating on the internet that support Fillon. These include: “the accusation of fictitious jobs was not retained by the Financial Prosecutor’s Office though this accusation was the most damaging in the case against Fillon.” The notion of fictitious employment does not exist in the penal code but the inquiry does aim to determine if the work undertaken by Penelope Fillon as a parliamentary assistant and at monthly literary and cultural affairs magazine “La Revue des deux mondes” was legitimate and real. François Fillon remains under investigation for “the embezzlement of public funds”, “aiding and abetting the embezzlement of public funds” as well as the “aiding and abetting of corporate assets.”



Is Bernard-Henri Lévy threatening to leave France if Mélenchon becomes president? No, it was a joke

According to an article in Nordpresse, the French public intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy says he will leave France if Jean-Luc Mélenchon is elected President. This report was taken seriously and shared by many internet users unaware that the site is satirical. The title of the article is a parody of the daily newspaper Sudpresse.

Translation: #BHL states he is leaving #France if #Melenchon is elected. I wasn’t going to vote but if they will play with my emotions #JLMLille.


The philosopher never said such a thing. He did however take position against the leader of the movement ‘La France Insoumise’ (Unsubmissive France), including saying in an article published in Point where he calls Mélenchon a “worker of bad wonders”. Levy has come out in favor of Emmanuel Macron for the forthcoming election.

The satirical news site Nordpresse misleads its readers by displaying a different url for its publications on social networks. Indeed, web users are frequently led to believe that they are sharing information emanating from a “serious” website.

(Spotted by Le Monde, the use of fake internet addresses)


In the main body of the article, Nordpresse goes even further by referencing the intellectual’s support of France’s military intervention in Libya in 2011: “Bernard Henry Lévy [sic] hasn’t mentioned where he would seek refuge but Libya is probably his most likely choice since, thanks to him, the country is at peace even though he also has many good contacts across all of the Middle East.”

A study of the links at the bottom of the page leaves no doubt as to the satirical nature of Nordpresse. One of them is titled: “Bernard Henri Lévy confirms having downed a DAESH plane by “hypnotizing the pilot”.



Did the French media fail to report on theft from the grave of Jean Marais?

The Facebook page of the website La Gauche m’a Tuer (a French far-right opinion website), posted this Tuesday 11th of April an article in which it claims that the mainstream media failed to report on a theft from the grave of the actor Jean Marais. The grave was indeed desecrated – but this happened in January 2016 and was then widely reported in local and national press across France.

“By teaching people to hate our own country, its culture, its roots, its religion, we’ve pushed numerous people to desecrate, pillage and steal from the tombs of our dead”, insists the site. One of the two sculptures representing the mask that Jean Marais wore in the movie “The Beauty and the Beast” was in fact stolen from the Vallauris Golfe-Juan cemetery in the South of France in January 2016. These sculptures are reproductions.

Tweet from January 2016 reporting the theft from the grave of Jean Marais


“Our media barely wrote about this event. There were a few lines in Le Parisien (a national French newspaper), as well as in Nice Matin (a local French Newspaper), that is all. People understand that it’s Jean Marais and not Jamel Debouzze (French-Morrocan comedian), and since it’s only a ‘public’ cemetery as they say…it’s not so important” added La Gauche m’a Tuer.

In reality, news of the theft was widely reported by the French media in 2016. AFP (the French Press Agency) published a story, as did Le Figaro, Paris Match, La Croix, LCI, Gala and the Obs, all widely read news outlets. An arm of France’s national broadcaster, France 3, also produced a documentary on the theft.