25 Mayo 2017 10:35
TV presenter Cyril Hanouna faces sanctions after carrying out a homophobic stunt live on his television show
French TV reporter Cyril Hanouna is facing a barrage of criticism, over 20,000 complaints and a possible sanction after carrying out a homophobic prank live on air. Hanouna created a fake online profile in a gay dating app with the aim of catfishing and making fun of queer men.
The stunt aired on Thursday night as part of Hanouna's show Touche Pas a Mon Poste (Don't Touch My TV Set). Hanouna's co-hosts all seemed to find the sketch acceptable. Nobody even flinched.
Hanouna used a picture of model Max Emerson for the fake profile in which he described himself as 'very sporty and well endowed,' adding that he 'liked being insulted.'
The presenter then proceeded to read out the messages he received from interested men in a mockingly high-pitched voice.
The stunt reached its nadir when Hanouna called the men up and had them describe their sexual fantasies. The men were unaware they were being listened to by 1.7 million people.
Source: Cyril Hanouna
The Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), an independent regulator of television standards in France, has received more than 20,000 complaints from viewers who considered the sketch homophobic. A number of LGBTQ advocacy groups, like SOS Homophobie, have also criticised the presenter, calling his prank 'scandalous'.
Jöel Deumier, president of SOS Homophobie, accused the presenter of humiliating and stereotyping gay men. 'When you let people get away with behaviour like this, you trivialise homophobic discourse,' said Deumier.
After the backlash, Hanouna said: ‘Homophobia is everything I’ve been fighting against for years, just like xenophobia, racism and misogyny, and today being called homophobic makes me feel really sad.'
Social media has been up in arms about the incident, and numerous public figures, such as the Minister for Family, Children and Women's Rights, have tweeted their disgust.
Hanouna defends himself under the pretext of 'humour' and 'freedom of speech' – that strange no man's land where anything and everything is apparently permitted. But his excuse isn't convincing anyone. Firstly, because his sketch is just not funny: it uses the same stale old stereotypes that we've been hearing for years.
Secondly, and more deplorably, to carry out his prank, Hanouna took advantage of men who were completely unaware that they were sharing their lives and stories with millions of television viewers. Nicolas Noguier of Le Refuge, a group helping young victims of homophobia, wrote that one hotline operator had spent most of the night talking to one of the men Hanouna spoke with on live TV. 'We were devastated by his tears and his fear of being found out by his parents and those around him,' Noguier said.
Hanouna has denigrated a historically oppressed and discriminated-against group which remains, even today, vulnerable to violence, abuse and murder. And homosexuals continue to be victims of those same tired old clichés that the presenter is perpetuating with his mockery. Using these men without their permission, and without understanding or taking into account their personal lives, is in very bad taste and steps way over the line that divides humour from humiliation.