1 He’s on the right
Zemmour is firmly to the right of the political spectrum now, but he was born in the famously left-wing Paris suburb of Montreuil, which for many years has been under control of Communist mayors.
These days it’s getting quite gentrified, but there are still many proud reminders of its left-wing heritage, including organised demonstrations against its ‘local lad’ presidential candidate when he tried to hold an event there.
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2 His family is from Africa
Perhaps unexpectedly for someone on the far right, Zemmour himself is Jewish and his parents were born in Algeria, which at that point was a French colony.
He has controversially (by which we mean almost all respected historians say that he’s wrong) suggested during World War II the French Vichy regime protected French Jews and ‘only’ allowed those born overseas to be deported to Nazi death camps.
3 He’s not an expert on copyright law, or grocery shopping
He has been a journalist, columnist, TV pundit and is the author of several books on the subject of France and its decline.
But during this career he apparently never picked up the basics of copyright law – the video announcing his candidacy as president had to be hastily junked when it emerged that he (or his team) had failed to secure permission for the numerous news, archive and movie clips used in it. A court later ordered him to pay €70,000 for breach of copyright.
4 He believes in ‘traditional values’He’s apparently not great at getting groceries either, since according to French satirical paper Le Canard Enchainé he has two walked out of grocery stories without paying for his items. Zemmour said that the latest incident, in posh Paris grocery Bon Marché, was a simple case of forgetfulness, and sent his security chief down to pay for his €38.80’s worth of items.
A social conservative, he’s married with three children, although in January 2022, after an exposé in Closer magazine, he announced that his 28-year-old chief campaign adviser is his new partner.
In his books he has spoken at length about how France’s ‘virility’ is being eroded by feminism and the feminisation of society.
The French investigative website Mediapart has published an exposé in which eight women accuse Zemmour of inappropriate conduct or sexual assault, mostly while they were working with his as interns or trainees during his journalism career.
5 He has strong views on names
If he’s elected, you might need to change your name.
Zemmour has previously said that only ‘French’ first names should be allowed, suggesting that only first names listed in a decree from 1803 should be allowed.
This is a long-standing obsession, back in 2016 he informed former justice minister Rachida Dati that it was “outrageous” of her to name her new baby Zohra.
In response a French web developer set up this joke online name generator where you can check if your first name conforms to the 1803 list and – if not – get a suggestion for a new one. Bad news for any Stephens out there, you would be known as Estelle