Charlie Hebdo in hot water over ‘sexist’ cartoon of a pregnant Mrs Macron

Emmanuel Macron's wife Brigitte, has come in for sexist and ageist abuse in recent weeks and Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine has been accused of adding fuel to the fire.

Charlie Hebdo in hot water over 'sexist' cartoon of a pregnant Mrs Macron
Photo: Charlie Hebdo/Facebook
Brigitte Macron has been the subject of sexist and misogynistic abuse ever since her husband's presidential campaign began, all because she is 24 years older than her husband. 
Emmanuel Macron, 39, has spoken of the matter recently, telling Le Parisien newspaper that reports about his relationship amounted to “misogyny”. 
“If I were 20 years older than my wife, nobody would have thought for a single second that I couldn’t be an intimate partner.”
“It’s because she is 20 years older than me that lots of people say, 'This relationship can’t be tenable, it can’t be possible'.”

But now that Macron has been voted president, the commentary about his wife haven't stopped – with satirical mag Charlie Hebdo proving to be the latest to join the choir.
This week's front page shows Macron holding the belly of his apparently very pregnant wife. 
“He's going to make miracles happen,” reads the accompanying text, in the picture which has also been added as Charlie Hebdo's Facebook profile picture. 
The caption is not just a reference to Macron's promise to bring France into the 21st century, but apparently also to the notion that his wife is so much older than him that it would be a miracle if she became pregnant.
While the paper's Facebook post about the new cover drew in around 3,500 likes, those on the French Twittersphere weren't so impressed, with many slamming the paper as “sexist”. 
“Surely you can do better than just saying 'Brigitte is old, LOL',” wrote one user. 
“If you'd do the same thing for the guys who have much younger wives then maybe things would actually change a bit,” wrote another. 
“This is lamentable and misogynist,” said a third. 
The tweet below reads: “Just more daily sexism about the age of Brigitte Macron.” 
This tweet says: “The freedom of the press has been combined with bad taste and misogyny this week at Charlie Hebdo. Pitiable.”
It's not just France's social media users that have taken to calling out the sexism. Several news sites have pointed out that the jokes need to stop, with Buzzfeed France writing “We didn't vote for five years of jokes about the age of Macron's wife”. 
Music megastar Madonna even chimed in on the debate, taking to Instagram after the election to write:
“Congrats to Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron. Fun Fact for Monday is that the first Lady of France is 24 yrs older than her husband and no one in France seems to care about their age difference nor insisted that Brigitte “Act her Age” Vive La France!”
The post garnered almost 100,000 likes. 
Charlie Hebdo, meanwhile, is no stranger to controversy. It has drawn ire over front pages featuring cartoons about Down Syndrome, and one about the drowned Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi.
Charlie Hebdo blasted for Down's Syndrome gag
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.

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Charlie Hebdo terror attacks: French court jails accomplices

A Paris court on Wednesday handed jail terms ranging from four years to life to more than a dozen people convicted of helping Islamist gunmen who attacked satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and customers at a Jewish supermarket in January 2015.

Charlie Hebdo terror attacks: French court jails accomplices
Court sketches of the 14 accused. Photo: AFP

Survivors and family members of the dead sat in silence as the verdicts were read out, which they hailed afterwards as a victory for justice and freedom of speech after a sometimes traumatic trial that revived the horror of the killings.

The editor of Charlie Hebdo Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, who lives under round-the-clock police protection, was also in court to hear the sentencing by a five-member team of magistrates who had listened to evidence against the accused over three months. 

“It's been painful, searing. It's been a stage in our mourning process, necessary and unavoidable,” said a lawyer for Charlie Hebdo, Richard Malka. “I hope it's the start of something else, of an awareness, a wake up call.” 

In the absence of the attackers themselves — all three were killed by security forces in the days after their rampage — French investigators instead focused on accomplices to the men, including their weapon suppliers.

The main accused, Ali Riza Polat, was judged to have known about his friend Amedy Coulibaly's plans to take part in the attacks, and was given a 30-year sentence for complicity, which he immediately said he would appeal.

Another 10 accused were present in court, all men ranging from 29 to 68 years old with prior criminal records but no terror convictions. They were all found guilty on a range of charges.

In all, 13 sentences were handed down, including to two accused who were tried in absentia: Hayat Boumeddiene, the partner of gunman Coulibaly, received a 30-year sentence, while Mohamed Belhoucine, a known Islamic extremist, was handed a life term.

Both of them are presumed to be in Syria and may be dead.

A fourteenth suspect was not sentenced because he was convicted in a separate terror trial earlier this year and is thought to dead. 

'Freedom has last word' 

During the attacks in January 2015, seventeen people were killed over three days, beginning with the massacre of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo magazine by brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi.

They said they were acting on behalf of Al-Qaeda to avenge Charlie Hebdo's decision to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, while Coulibaly had sworn loyalty to the Islamic State group.

Coulibaly was responsible for the murder of a French policewoman and a hostage-taking at a Hyper Cacher market in which four Jewish men were killed.

Those shot dead in the Charlie Hebdo office included some of France's most celebrated cartoonists such as Jean Cabut, known as Cabu, 76, Georges Wolinski, 80, and Stephane “Charb” Charbonnier, 47.

To mark the start of the trial on September 2, the fiercely anti-religion magazine defiantly republished the prophet cartoons, leading to a fresh violence and protests against France in many Muslim countries.

Three weeks later, a Pakistani man wounded two people outside the magazine's former offices, hacking at them with a cleaver.

On October 16, a young Chechen refugee beheaded teacher Samuel Paty who had showed some of the caricatures to his pupils.

And on October 29, three people were killed when a young Tunisian recently arrived in Europe went on a stabbing spree in a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice.

President Emmanuel Macron's government has introduced legislation to tackle radical Islamist activity in France, a bill that has stirred anger in some Muslim countries.

On the cover of its new issue published before the verdicts, Charlie Hebdo in typically provocative style published a picture of God being led away in a police van with the title “God put in his place”.

“The cycle of violence, which had began in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, will finally be closed,” editor Riss, who was badly injured in the attacks, wrote in an editorial.

“At least from the perspective of criminal law, because from a human one, the consequences will never be erased,,” he added.

'Thanks to justice' 

The Charlie Hebdo killings triggered a global outpouring of solidarity with France under the “I am Charlie” slogan and signalled the start of a wave of Islamist attacks around Europe.

Later that year, in November 2015, Paris was again besieged when Islamist gunmen went on the rampage at the Bataclan concert hall, the national stadium and at a host of bars and restaurants.

A trial of the only surviving gunman and suspected accomplices is expected to start in September next year. 

Christophe Deloire, the head of press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said he welcomed the verdict in court on Wednesday.

“It is proof that violent extremists don't have the last word. Thanks to justice, it is freedom that has the last word,” he wrote on Twitter.

Patrick Klugman, lawyer for the victims at Hyper Cacher, said: “For most of the victims… I believe that they have feeling of having been heard.”