French farmer filmed in underpants confronting conservationists wins €10k in privacy claim

A French farmer who became an internet sensation after being pictured storming out of his house in his underpants brandishing a spade to ward off bird conservationists won €10,000 in damages from French television on Wednesday.

French farmer filmed in underpants confronting conservationists wins €10k in privacy claim
France Televisions was ruled to have invaded the farmer's privacy. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

The picture of a furious Jean-Marc Dutouya, clad in only a blue T-shirt and briefs, taking on the bird enthusiasts who sneaked into his cornfield in the southwestern village of Audon inspired a host of memes.

Twitter users dubbed the November 2015 altercation #SlipGate (French for “#UnderpantsGate”) and super-imposed the picture of the angry farmer and hunting enthusiast over several famous images.

Among the mocked-up pictures were Dutouya brandishing his spade in front of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Another replaced the spade with a light sabre.

The confrontation was recorded by a TV crew accompanying journalist and birder Allain Bougrain-Dubourg and fellow members of the League of Bird Protection (LPO) on their mission to destroy traps laid to catch finches.

Despite being a protected species, the birds are still hunted in parts of France.

Dutouya’s mother, who was in her 80s, was shoved during the skirmish while the journalists had the tyres slashed on four vehicles.

Dutouya was fined €400 in 2018 for violence with a weapon.

He in turn sued France Televisions, the public broadcaster which filmed the incident, for violating his privacy.

A court in the southwestern town of Dax awarded him €10,000 euros in damages on Wednesday – a fraction of the €200,000 he sought.

Welcoming the ruling, Dutouya’s lawyer Frederic Dutin said: “Can a man who is at home in his garden be thrown to the wolves in any old fashion? The courts say no.”

The court also ordered France Televisions to pay his legal costs and to blur Dutouya’s image on the footage, Dutin said.

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Italian killer with mafia links arrested in France after 16 years on the run

A convicted murderer linked to one of Italy's most powerful mafia organisations was arrested on Thursday in central France, Interpol said.

Italian killer with mafia links arrested in France after 16 years on the run

Edgardo Greco, 63, is suspected of belonging to the notorious ‘Ndrangheta, a powerful mafia organisation in Calabria, southern Italy.

He is wanted in Italy to serve a life sentence for the murders of Stefano and Giuseppe Bartolomeo, and accused of the attempted murder of Emiliano Mosciaro “as part of a mafia war between the Pino Sena and Perna Pranno gangs that marked the early 1990s”, Interpol said.

The Bartolomeo brothers were beaten to death with iron bars in a fish warehouse, Italian police said.

Greco’s arrest in central France came with help for Italy and France from the “Cooperation against ‘Ndrangheta Project” (I-CAN) run by Interpol, which facilitates police cooperation between its 195 member states.

READ ALSO: Italian police seize €250 million and arrest 56 in latest mafia blitz

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, quoted in Interpol’s statement, said the arrests demonstrated his country’s commitment to “fighting all forms of organised crime and locating dangerous fugitives”.

The ‘Ndrangheta is considered Italy’s most extensive and powerful mafia group, Interpol said, operating worldwide and with strong ties to the trade in cocaine bound for Europe from South America

I-CAN’s job is help raise awareness of ‘Ndrangheta and their modus operandi, sharing police information to dismantle their networks and operations, the agency said.

The arrest of Greco, who worked in the evenings in a pizza restaurant under an assumed named according to Italian media, came a week after Italian police said it had dismantled a ‘Ndrangheta mafia ring dominating a large area of southern Calabria and seized assets exceeding 250 million euros.

Fifty-six people, many already in prison, were put under criminal investigation for a series of crimes including mafia-related conspiracy, extortion, kidnapping, bribery and possession of weapons, police and prosecutors said.

The arrest of Greco comes just over two weeks after Italian police arrested one of the most notorious bosses of the Sicilian Cosa Nostra mafia, Matteo Messina Denaro, who had been on the run for 30 years.

The 60-year-old was arrested after visiting a health clinic where he was being treated in the Sicilian capital Palermo