Court fines magazine for outing official

2014-12-24 22:02
European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said recently that the bank may need to take action to stem the rising euro. (Philippe Huguen, AFP)

European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi said recently that the bank may need to take action to stem the rising euro. (Philippe Huguen, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Paris - A French court on Wednesday ordered gossip magazine Closer to pay €20 000 in damages for "invasion of privacy" after having "outed" one of the far-right National Front party's top officials.

Earlier this month, the magazine published four pages of photos taken in Vienna of party Vice President Florian Philippot with a "television journalist" presented as his boyfriend whose face was blurred out.

The weekly also published a smaller picture on its front page titled "Yes to love for everyone", in reference to the high-profile "Marriage for everyone" movement that supported same-sex unions, which were eventually legalised in May 2013.

Publication of the photos sparked outrage in France, where politicians' private lives are still regarded as sacrosanct, although this is starting to change.

Closer is the magazine that revealed President Francois Hollande's affair with actress Julie Gayet earlier this year, prompting him to split with long-term partner Valerie Trierweiler.

The Paris court on Wednesday also told the magazine to publish its verdict on the front page and pay Philippot €3 500 for his legal fees.

Gregoire Lafarge, Philippot's lawyer, had argued Monday in court that the magazine had not acted in the public interest but purely to make money.

"Mr Philippot is admittedly a public figure but he is not a celebrity and has always explained that sexuality is an intimate affair," he said.

"To 'out' [someone] is to stigmatise. After sexuality, what will we throw out to the public - religion, health?", added Lafarge, who had initially asked for €50 000 in damages.

But Delphine Pando, lawyer for Closer, argued the magazine had revealed the information in the public interest.

She pointed out that Philippot was high up in the National Front party, which was strongly divided on the issue of gay marriage.

The judge ruled on Wednesday that "even if the magazine says that Mr Philippot is the man who is most invited to morning radio and television shows after the National Front leader, his private life was not widely known and he never intended to publicly reveal it".

He also pointed out that the weekly had a lot of readers and that Philippot and his friend were photographed with a telephoto lens, which could constitute "harassment".

Read more on:    france
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.