A poster calling for an anti-gay rights demonstration in Paris has been attacked as being racist after going viral overnight in the French Twittersphere.
The poster, designed by an anti-same sex marriage activist, depicts France’s Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira, who is black, as a raging gorilla/King Kong, overwhelmed by a flow of demonstrators from the “Manif Pour Tous,” the main anti-same sex organization. The slogan is a play on words: “manif monstre” can mean ‘giant demo.’
The picture, posted on Monday night, was retweeted and commented massively by anti-gay rights activists and by both outraged anti- and pro-same sex marriage activists.
Among the reactions, one user notes “[The anti-same sex marriage crowd] go from presumed homophobes to proven racists.” One same-sex marriage opponent tweeted: “You are completely discrediting the Manif Pour Tous with this horrible image!” Defenders of the poster said it was supposed to be humoristic and ironic and that the monster refers to a “monument of American cinema, the devastating [King Kong]” and the “destruction” the bill will bring to the families.
On Tuesday morning, the owner of the Twitter account where the picture was initially posted deleted it, before explaining: “I confirm that I acted on my own, without racist intention. Sorry if it has hurt. I withdraw the picture but it is a misunderstanding. I used an already existing monster picture.” To make further amends, he then retweeted a message from an official anti-same-sex marriage organisation stating “The only poster for the May 26 demo is this one.”
Another official account of “La Manif Pour Tous”, @lamanifpourtous, tweeted “the only news and posters to take into account for the May 26 are those tweeted by this account.”
French Guiana-born Christiane Taubira is, as François Hollande’s Minister of Justice, the main proponent of the bill legalising same-sex marriage. She has been the target of a large majority of the slogans and banners from anti-same sex marriage demonstrators.
The bill legalising same-sex marriage was voted into law on April 23 after more than 140 hours of heated parliamentary debates, massive demonstrations from both side and rising tensions in French society. It has been blamed for a series of violent clashes between protesters and homophobic attacks.
The opposition has appealed to the Constitutional Court in the hope that it will reverse or modify the law, a decision it will make within the coming days.
France is now the 14th country in the world to allow same-sex couples to wed and the ninth in Europe.