Published: 21 Nov 2012 09:32 GMT+01:00 | Print version
Updated: 21 Nov 2012 09:32 GMT+01:00
A former homeless man has won €1 million in court after suing legendary society photographer and one-time Liliane Bettencourt heir François Marie Banier, who accused him of homophobia.
Michel Baldy, now an apartment block caretaker, took Banier to court after he wrongly accused Baldy of homophobia.
The pair first met last year, when Baldy was homeless and living on the Champs Elysée in Paris.
Banier - also a novelist, artist and actor, and a friend of luminaries including Pablo Picasso, François Mitterand, Kate Moss and Princess Caroline of Monaco - took a photo of Baldy without his permission. When he was asked to delete the photo, he reportedly said “shut your face, bum,” and took a swipe at the homeless man.
The photographer then reported Baldy to the police for homophobia and violence – at the hearing Baldy was acquitted of accusations of homophobia, and decided to sue for slander.
Baldy has since spoken of how he has never forgiven Banier for the humiliation caused after the accusation.
“I was already living on the streets, but with this it was like I didn’t exist at all. I was shattered,” said Baldy to radio station RTL.
“I hope that with this court case, Banier rectifies what he has done, and that he says that I never threatened him and I’m not homophobic.
“It’s clear he didn’t behave how he should have. For a photographer, it’s clear.”
Banier has previously been in the limelight for his relationship with L'Oréal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, who made him the sole beneficiary of her will, before later removing him.
Notre Dame cathedral in the heart of Paris had to be evacuated on Tuesday when 78-year-old writer and far right figure Dominique Venner, a firm opponent of gay marriage, shot himself in the head by the church's altar. READ () »
High ranking ministers in the French government can expect a grilling in the coming days as an investigation into a tax fraud scandal got underway on Tuesday. The probe was set up after the former budget minister admitted having a secret bank account. READ () »
Hopes that France's long, hard winter would be followed by a warm, sunny spring have been well and truly washed out after a weekend of heavy rain and storms. The country's weather agency saying more bad weather is on the way. READ () »
The French Interior Minister reassured the public on Tuesday that a global operation involving French and international police was underway to track down fugitive Redoine Faid, who remains at large after blasting his way out of prison in April. READ () »
VIDEO: French police have charged a minibus driver carrying a group of Marseille football supporters who were involved in a mass brawl with fans of fierce rivals Lyon at a motorway toll plaza in the south of France at the weekend. READ () »
Hundreds of French Facebook users bared all this week in a protest against the social media site’s strict censorship of nude photos. But the “Day of Nude” protest was cut short early when Facebook's photo police took swift action. READ () »
The French government may still be celebrating the victory of seeing its divisive gay marriage bill finally signed into law but the battle over the issue of same-sex unions in France now looks set to move from a national to a local level. READ () »
An angry Chinese film producer had some harsh words to say about France this week, suggesting the country had a problem with public safety and arrogance after being the victim of a burglary at the Cannes Film Festival. READ () »
A proposal to introduce more courses in English and other foreign languages at French universities is set to be debated in parliament from Wednesday amid concerns it will undermine the country's soul and identity. READ () »
A 48-year-old divorced Briton locked in a bitter custody battle confessed on Sunday that he had killed his two young children by slitting their throats near the eastern French city of Lyon. READ () »