Viral Video of a Man Slapping a French Woman? He Was Convicted
A man who was caught slapping a French woman in CCTV footage earlier this year was sentenced to six months in jail on Thursday, BBC reports.
A Paris court handed the 25-year-old man, identified only as Firaz M, a six-month, suspended sentence and a $2,300 fine. He was also ordered to undergo psychological care, take a class on gender-related violence and keep away from the woman he harassed.
Prosecutors described M as “violent and impulsive,” according to BBC.
Video footage from a Paris cafe captured the moment when M accosted 22-year-old Marie Laguerre on the street. Laguerre says the man was making obscene “noises with sexual connotations” to her as she walked home. She said when she told him to “shut up,” he threw an ashtray at her, and then struck her face. The CCTV footage went viral and provoked international outrage after Laguerre posted it on Facebook in July.
The man was found guilty of “violence with the use or threat of a weapon,” but the court said there were insufficient grounds to charge him with sexual harassment.
Laguerre, who has launched a website for women to share experiences with harassment, told French publication Libération that the ruling was a “harsh blow” and a disappointment.
“My attacker will not be able to understand the misogynistic and sexist nature of what he is accused of,” she said, according to BBC. “We are missing out on teaching him a lesson to make him aware that it’s no longer possible to treat women like pieces of meat.”
Laguerre’s case emerged as the #MeToo movement began to gain traction in France, where it is known as #BalanceTonPorc (“rat on your pig”).
The video of the incident went viral amid France’s effort to crack down on street harassment. The government approved a new law in August that allows for on-the-spot fines of up to $860.