Paris, June 20, 2024 – Two women faced trial today in Paris over allegations that they propagated false information claiming Brigitte Macron, France’s first lady, was transgender.

This sensational trial follows a tumultuous period of online rumor-mongering and conspiracy theories, marking a significant moment in the fight against digital misinformation.

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The controversy erupted in late 2021 when Amandine Roy, a self-described spiritual medium, and Natacha Rey, an independent journalist, aired a YouTube video alleging that Brigitte Macron had a previous identity as “Jean-Michel.”

The video quickly went viral, gaining traction among conspiracy theorists and elements of the far right, particularly in the lead-up to France’s 2022 presidential election.

Brigitte Macron, 71, and her family vehemently denied these claims, asserting they were baseless and defamatory.

The situation escalated further when the false narrative spread beyond France, reaching international platforms and sparking further unsubstantiated accusations, including claims of criminal conduct.

In response, Brigitte Macron and her legal team pursued legal action, filing a defamation lawsuit against Roy and Rey.

Amandine Roy appeared in court to defend her actions, stating that she merely facilitated Rey’s desire to share her investigative work, which allegedly spanned three years.

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Roy expressed regret that mainstream media did not thoroughly investigate the claims before they gained traction online.

Jean Ennochi, legal counsel for Brigitte Macron, underscored the seriousness of the allegations, highlighting the profound impact on Macron’s public image and personal life. Ennochi demanded compensation for both Brigitte Macron and her brother, who was also targeted by the false accusations.

The trial unfolded against the backdrop of France’s political landscape, with President Emmanuel Macron having recently called for snap parliamentary elections following electoral setbacks.

The case has underscored broader concerns about the dissemination of misinformation in contemporary politics and media, especially when targeting prominent public figures.

Throughout the proceedings, neither President Macron nor Brigitte Macron were physically present in court. Their absence, however, did not diminish the gravity of the accusations or the legal ramifications faced by the defendants.

The trial has reignited debates about the responsibilities of online platforms and media in verifying information and combating false narratives.

It also reflects a disturbing trend where public figures, particularly women in positions of power, are increasingly subjected to gender-based disinformation campaigns aimed at undermining their authority and dignity.

As the trial concluded for the day, a decision on the case is expected on September 12, which will determine the legal consequences for the defendants and potentially set a precedent in addressing similar cases of digital defamation and misinformation.

In the era of rapid information dissemination, this trial serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of journalistic integrity, responsible online conduct, and the protection of individuals’ reputations against unfounded attacks in the digital age.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members