Woman behind French #MeToo movement is fined for defamation

International

French journalist Sandra Muller gives a press conference, in Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. A Paris court has ruled that the woman who launched the French version of the #MeToo movement must pay 20,000 euros ($22,000) in damages and fees for defaming the man she accused of harassment. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS (AP) — A Paris court ruled on Wednesday that the woman who launched the French version of the #MeToo movement must pay 20,000 euros ($22,000) for defaming the man she accused of harassment.

French journalist Sandra Muller said she fears the message of the decision is “be quiet.”

Muller launched #balancetonporc, which roughly translates as “squeal on your pig, “at the height of the global movement against sexual misconduct in October 2017 when she tweeted that former TV channel executive Eric Brion made sexually explicit comments to her.

TIME Magazine featured Muller among #MeToo “silence breakers” in its 2017 “Person of the Year” edition.

Brion, former head of television channel Equidia, took Muller to court over the tweets, arguing that they harmed him and that his remarks to Muller were not harassment. The court ruled in his favor, ordered Muller to delete her tweets and to pay Brion 15,000 euros ($16,400) in damages and 5,000 euros more ($5,400) in legal fees.

“It’s a proceeding that’s intended to silence the victims,” she said at a news conference. “The message is clear: ‘Be quiet.'”

Brion hailed the ruling on Twitter as a “victory of true justice” after “two years of rare violence.”

Muller said she fears the ruling will silence women who have experienced harassment. She plans to appeal.

At the time, Muller urged other women to share stories of workplace sexual harassment.

Hundreds of thousands of posts using the hashtag described instances of harassment and sexism across France.

France has struggled to define the line between flirting and harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

Muller’s lawyer, Francis Szpiner, suggested the ruling could have implications for what, exactly is considered sexual harassment in France.

The decision gives men license to say or do offensive things, he told reporters, and “if they only do it one time, it will be excused by the court.”

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Overcast

Abbeville

51°F Overcast Feels like 51°
Wind
7 mph E
Humidity
92%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

A few clouds from time to time. Slight chance of a shower throughout the evening. Low 43F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
46°F A few clouds from time to time. Slight chance of a shower throughout the evening. Low 43F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
10 mph WNW
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Overcast

Crowley

49°F Overcast Feels like 44°
Wind
13 mph ESE
Humidity
95%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Periods of rain. Thunder possible. Low 48F. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100%.
49°F Periods of rain. Thunder possible. Low 48F. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100%.
Wind
10 mph ESE
Precip
90%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Overcast

Opelousas

47°F Overcast Feels like 43°
Wind
9 mph ESE
Humidity
95%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Partly cloudy skies. Slight chance of a shower throughout the evening. Low 41F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
46°F Partly cloudy skies. Slight chance of a shower throughout the evening. Low 41F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
10 mph WNW
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Overcast

Breaux Bridge

49°F Overcast Feels like 46°
Wind
7 mph E
Humidity
90%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Partly cloudy skies. Slight chance of a shower throughout the evening. Low 43F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
46°F Partly cloudy skies. Slight chance of a shower throughout the evening. Low 43F. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Wind
10 mph WNW
Precip
20%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent
Overcast

New Iberia

50°F Overcast Feels like 50°
Wind
10 mph E
Humidity
100%
Sunrise
Sunset

Tonight

Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. Low 39F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
45°F Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. Low 39F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.
Wind
6 mph ESE
Precip
40%
Sunset
Moon Phase
Waning Crescent

Sidebar

Trending Stories