Violently homophobic tweets trend in France

Over the weekend, the tag #lesgaysdoiventdisparaitrecar (“Gay people must die/disappear because”) hit the top of Twitter’s trending topics in France. That was shortly followed by #TeamHomophobes and “burn gays on the…”, which asked users to finish the sentence with their own ideas—like a violently homophobic version of Mad Libs.

Now a French gay rights group is planning to sue Twitter, alleging the tweets violated France’s laws against hate speech.

The French arm of IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) said Twitter allowed “the diffusion of a call for hatred against gay people” and plans to file a legal complaint.

“We support free expression, and we understand that there are some people who simply don’t like gay people, but this is a call for the extermination of the gay community,” IDAHO’s Alexandre Marcel told The Local. “Twitter hasn’t deleted a single homophobic tweet, nor removed a single homophobic hashtag from its list of most popular trending terms.”

France’s Minister of Women’s Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem also condemned anti-gay speech in a tweet Saturday. After the tag #SiMonFilsEstGay (“If my son is gay…”) trended in December, Vallaud-Belkacem met with Twitter to discuss hate speech in the community. That tag picked up momentum again Monday.

It’s not the first time Twitter, which projects itself as a platform for free expression, has faced hate speech issues in France. After a protracted legal battle, a French court forced the company to last month identify users who posted anti-Semitic tweets in October.

Photo via gayMSP/Flickr

Kris Holt

Kris Holt

Based in Montreal, Kris Holt has been writing about technology and web culture since 2010. He writes for Engadget and Tech News World, and his byline has also appeared in Paste, Salon, International Business Times, Mashable, and elsewhere.