Copé: anti-white racism exists in France

Jean-Francois Copé, candidate to be the next leader of the UMP, has published a paper in which he criticises “anti-white racism" in France.

The current secretary general of the UMP, who hopes to be elected president of the party in two months, says he realised he is “breaking a taboo” by talking about anti-white racism in the paper called “Manifesto to destigmatise the right”.

Extracts in Le Figaro Magazine reveal an anecdote Copé tells of a mother in his hometown of Meaux, north east of Paris.

The mother opened her front door one day to a teenager who pushed his way into the house and stole her son’s game console.

After speaking to the parents of the teenager and several neighbours to get the console back, she was told “get lost if you’re not happy, Gaul woman.”

“[This] is just as unacceptable as other forms of racism, and we should talk about it, like we condemn all other forms of discrimination,” Copé wrote.

“These kinds of things are not obvious when you live in Paris, in media and political spheres where the majority of the directors are French and white, born to French parents.

“In these microcosms, the lack of diversity limits the presence of people of colour, or of foreign origins. But let’s look at the reality before us – the opposite situation is found in lots of areas in the suburbs.”

The paper also prioritises education in France, talks about the work of Sarkozy and Chirac and suggests what the UMP should become now.

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French court orders Twitter to reveal anti-hate speech efforts

A French court has ordered Twitter to give activists full access to all its documents relating to efforts to combat racism, sexism and other forms of hate speech on the social network.

French court orders Twitter to reveal anti-hate speech efforts
Photo: Alastair Pike | AFP

Six anti-discrimination groups had taken Twitter to court in France last year, accusing the US social media giant of “long-term and persistent” failures in blocking hateful comments from the site.

The Paris court ordered Twitter to grant the campaign groups full access to all documents relating to the company’s efforts to combat hate speech since May 2020. The ruling applies to Twitter’s global operation, not just France.

Twitter must hand over “all administrative, contractual, technical or commercial documents” detailing the resources it has assigned to fighting homophobic, racist and sexist discourse on the site, as well as “condoning crimes against humanity”.

The San Francisco-based company was given two months to comply with the ruling, which also said it must reveal how many moderators it employs in France to examine posts flagged as hateful, and data on the posts they process.

The ruling was welcomed by the Union of French Jewish Students (UEJF), one of the groups that had taken the social media giant to court.

“Twitter will finally have to take responsibility, stop equivocating and put ethics before profit and international expansion,” the UEJF said in a statement on its website.

Twitter’s hateful conduct policy bans users from promoting violence, or threatening or attacking people based on their race, religion, gender identity or disability, among other forms of discrimination.

Like other social media businesses it allows users to report posts they believe are hateful, and employs moderators to vet the content.

But anti-discrimination groups have long complained that holes in the policy allow hateful comments to stay online in many cases.

French prosecutors on Tuesday said they have opened an investigation into a wave of racist comments posted on Twitter aimed at members of the country’s national football team.

The comments, notably targeting Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, were posted after France was eliminated from the Euro 2020 tournament last week.

France has also been having a wider public debate over how to balance the right to free speech with preventing hate speech, in the wake of the controversial case of a teenager known as Mila.

The 18-year-old sparked a furore last year when her videos, criticising Islam in vulgar terms, went viral on social media.

Thirteen people are on trial accused of subjecting her to such vicious harassment that she was forced to leave school and was placed under police protection.

While President Emmanuel Macron is among those who have defended her right to blaspheme, left-wing critics say her original remarks amounted to hate speech against Muslims.