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France is trying suspects over Brigitte Macron’s false transgender claim

PARIS, June 20 — Two women were put on trial yesterday over false claims that French first lady Brigitte Macron was transgender, sparking online rumors from conspiracy theorists and the far right.

In 2022, Brigitte Macron filed a defamation complaint against two women who posted a YouTube video in December 2021 claiming that she had once been a man named “Jean-Michel”.

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The claim went viral just weeks before the 2022 presidential election.

The defamation lawsuit comes amid a hectic campaign for snap parliamentary elections organized by President Emmanuel Macron after the far-right defeated his party in elections for the EU parliament.

Amandine Roy, a self-described spiritual medium, appeared in court in Paris on Wednesday to answer questions about the interview she conducted with Natacha Rey, an independent journalist who did not show up due to illness.

Roy, 49, had interviewed Rey for four hours on her YouTube channel, during which the journalist spoke about the “state lie” and “scam” she claimed to have uncovered.

Rey was “desperate to share her work,” said Roy, who only “agreed to her request.”

As for the credibility of the claims, Roy emphasized that Rey had “done three years of research, it’s not like she pulled it out of her hat.”

“I’m sorry this wasn’t picked up and investigated by the mainstream media,” said Roy, who said she couldn’t “hide” such a “serious” topic.

Neither the president, 46, nor the 71-year-old first lady were in the courtroom.

More and more posts appeared on social media claiming that the first lady, formerly Brigitte Trogneux, had never existed and that her brother Jean-Michel had changed gender and assumed that identity.

The false claim also led to more serious allegations of child abuse against the French first lady.

“The prejudice is enormous, it exploded everywhere,” said Brigitte Macron’s lawyer Jean Ennochi.

He demanded 10,000 euros (RM50,616) in compensation for Brigitte Macron and her brother.

The disinformation even spread to the United States, where Brigitte Macron was attacked in a now-deleted YouTube video ahead of the November election.

Brigitte Macron is among a group of influential women – including former US first lady Michelle Obama and New Zealand ex-prime minister Jacinda Ardern – who have fallen victim to the growing trend of misinformation about their gender or sexuality to mock or shame them. humiliate.

A decision on the case will be made on September 12. – AFP

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