AN ACCLAIMED French blogger has come under heavy criticism after thousands of racist, homophobic and hate-filled tweets he published years ago under a pseudonym resurfaced at the end of last week, triggering a storm of outrage.
For years, Mehdi Meklat, a 24-year-old human rights activist and former Bondy Blog journalist – who, until last week, was hailed as one of France’s rising media stars – published “sickening” tweets under the pseudonym ‘Marcelin Deschamps’, a “provocative” but “fictional” character who, according to the young writer, “does not reflect his personal beliefs, values and morals”.
On Twitter, Mr Meklat – writing as Marcelin Deschamps – threatened to kill Marine Le Pen.
He wrote: “I am going to slit your throat Muslim-style.”
The journalist is also guilty of apologising terrorism and anti-Semitism: hiding behind his ‘fictional’ character, he praised Islamic terrorist Mohammed Merah, said that he “really missed Osama bin Laden” and that we should “bring back Hitler”.
He also said that he wanted to “rape” former Charlie Hebdo editor-in-chief, Charb – one of the victims of the January 2015 terrorist attacks – with a “Laguiole knife”.
On Saturday, Mr Meklat cleaned his Twitter account – he went from 50,000 to 503 tweets – and issued a public apology, branding his hateful tweets as “obsolete” and “irrelevant”.
He tweeted: “I’m sorry if some of you were shocked by my tweets. They are obsolete… The words of my fictional character do not reflect my own personal thoughts and beliefs, quite the opposite. Via Marcelin Deschamps, a provocative character, I was trying to encourage critical thinking.”
I am going to slit your throat Muslim-style
His apology, however, has largely fallen on deaf ears.
On Sunday, Marion Marechal Le Pen, Mrs Le Pen’s niece, tweeted: “Praising Merah, threats, homophobia, hate and anti-Semitism. Why is the press protecting @mehdi_meklat?”
Members of the Printemps républicain, a left-wing organisation explicitly formed to promote and protect secularism in France, bitterly condemned Mr Meklat’s tweets in a press release and said that, had he been a member of France’s far-right, he would have been excoriated and denounced by the press “a very long time ago”.
They wrote: “For years, Mr Meklat published racist, sexist and hate-filled tweets. And yet, editors and newspapers continued to hire and support him.
"If a far-right journalist had tweeted what Mr Meklat tweeted, he would have been lynched by the press and would probably have ended up in court."
Posted by Women Against Shariah on Thursday, February 23, 2017