Woman Who Sparked France’s #MeToo Movement Loses Defamation Case
A Paris court ruled on Wednesday that the journalist who sparked France’s equivalent of the #MeToo movement defamed a former television executive whom she accused of sexual harassment, The New York Times reports. The court ordered New York-based journalist Sandra Muller to pay 15,000 euros—or about $16,500—in damages to ex-executive Eric Brion. She was also ordered to pay approximately $5,500 for his legal fees and remove Twitter posts that mentioned Brion. “She surpassed the acceptable limits of freedom of expression, as her comments descended into a personal attack,” the court wrote in its ruling, adding that Muller lacked a “factual basis” to accuse Brion of harassment and exposed the former executive to “social reprobation.”
Brion sued Muller for defamation after she started the #BalanceTonPorc, or #ExposeYourPig, hashtag by recalling her experiences with Brion. “You have big breasts. You are my type of woman. I will make you orgasm all night,” she accused Brion of telling her. Brion didn’t deny making the inappropriate comments, but claimed he apologized soon after and argued that Muller was wrong to liken him to individuals like Harvey Weinstein—a former Hollywood movie mogul who has been accused of widespread sexual abuse.