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Friday, 12 December 2014

Closer magazine "outs" Front National's Florian Philippot

So a prominent member of the far-right Front National (FN), Florian Philippot, is apparently  gay.

Florian Philippot (screenshot i>Télé interview November 2014)

It's not exactly a secret, although not a story with which the media the rest of the French media has been prepared to run.

Until, that is, the weekly celebrity news and gossip magazine, Closer, decided "to break the silence" by publishing photographs in its latest edition of Philippot and his partner, on a break in Vienna.

Yes, Closer - that bastion of first-rate journalism whose credo seems to be that "scandal and sauciness" are newsworthy and has made its mark by publishing unauthorised long lens photographs, is proving true to its reputation.

Remember back in 2006 those photos of Ségolène Royal clad only in a bikini on a beach?

Or in 2012  the shots of the Duchess of Cambridge, topless while on a private holiday in the south of France?

And more recently the French president, François Hollande, snapped on a scooter as he made his way to a late night liaison with actress Julie Gayet?

Those were all "stories", complete with photographs published by Closer.

The magazine's latest "target", in what it presumably once again hopes will help boost sales, has been the subject of "rumour" for quite a while.

In fact a "gay lobby" within the FN was was suggested by the far-right weekly newspaper Minute in January 2013 when it claimed on its front cover that "le lobby gay s'introduit partout" - the media, all political parties and even the FN.

At the time, Philippot accused the newspaper of "stigmatising homosexuals and spreading rumours".

Such tittle tattle certainly seemed to put the party's leadership at odds with its declared position at the time of being against gay marriage as the bill to make same-sex marriage legal made its way through parliament with accompanying demonstrations of those opposed to the government's proposals.

The party's  leader, Marine Le Pen, said she was against the reform, but left it open to individual members to decide whether they would join the demonstrations.

So it's perhaps not a surprise that Le Pen "defended" Philippot when the news that Closer had outed him.

"This is a very serious violation of individual freedoms.," she told Europe 1 radio.

"This type of behaviour is unacceptable for Florian Philippot just as much as it was for François Hollande.  Private life is sacred."

Le Pen's reaction has been mirrored by other politicians  across the political spectrum and Tweets (what else) of outrage that what was essentially a private matter should, as far as Closer is concerned, be of public interest.

Proof that the real "scandal" is not that Philippot is gay - that's neither relevant to his political ideas nor particularly interesting.

Rather that a magazine such as Closer should be allowed to continue to "sell" based on publication of unauthorised photos.

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