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Charlie Hebdo blasted for Down's Syndrome gag

Ben McPartland · 7 Oct 2015, 15:02

Published: 07 Oct 2015 15:02 GMT+02:00

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The hashtag #Iamnolongercharlie (Jenesuispluscharlie) was doing the rounds on Twitter in France on Wednesday after the satirical magazine was accused of insulting people with Down's Syndrome.

Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine that is now a household name around the world after the January terror attack on its offices, has once again proved its ability to cause controversy.

The satirical magazine, revered by many for its irreverent mocking of political and religious leaders, particularly those on the right and far-right, aimed its sights this week on Nadine Morano.

She is the centre-right verging on far-right politician who has been the butt of both anger and ridicule this week by saying France was “a country of white race”.

The magazine’s front cover showed an unflattering image of Morano, who has now become a hate-figure after her latest remarks, in the arms of former French president Charles de-Gaulle.

Next to it are the words: “Morano, the secret Down’s Syndrome daughter of de Gaulle”.

The cover prompted harsh reaction on Twitter, but also from the mother of a Down's Syndrome child, who lambasted the magazine in an emotional column for the L’Express newspaper.

“You know what Charlie, it’s not funny. You have hurt all those close to people who have Down’s Syndrome,” said Caroline Boudet, whose Facebook post about being a parent of Louise, her child with Down’s Syndrome went viral in the summer.

(Louise and her story went viral in France. Photo: Facebook)

“Let me tell you something,” she continued.

“Intelligence is opening of the spirit and the acceptance of others, stupidity is racism, it’s intolerance, it’s Nadine Morano, but it is not Down’s Syndrome.

“My daughter would never come out with half of the crap that Morano does… Because intelligence is not a question of genes.

“You have the right to be humorous, as you see it, but your cover hurts me, and furthermore, it’s not funny.”

There were more harsh words on Twitter:

One Tweeter described the front cover as “revolting gutter humour”, while another said Charlie Hebdo “can also be just as stupid as the people they are targeting”.

Story continues below…

The front cover comes just a matter of weeks after the magazine was criticized for being insensitive for its drawings of drowned Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi.

While most accepted the drawings of Kurdi were to criticize Europe’s response to the refugee crisis, others were left outraged.

Charlie Hebdo made a name for itself worldwide by choosing to publish cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed, which lead to protests in Muslim countries around the world.

Cherif and Said Kouachi, two Muslim extremists said they were avenging those cartoons when they stormed the offices of Charlie Hebdo on January 7th, killing 12 people.

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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