Laetitia Avia was hailed as a symbol of French diversity when she entered parliament for Emmanuel Macron' s centrist party in 2017. But the daily racist abuse against her on social networks pushed her to draw up an extreme censorship law to put a
stop to her critics.
It states that hateful comments reported by users must be removed within 24 hours by platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. This includes any hateful attack on someone's dignity on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender
identity or disability. If the social media platforms and tech companies do not comply, they will face huge fines of up to 4% of their global revenue. Penalties could reach tens of millions of euros. There will also be a new judiciary body to
focus on online hate.
The online hatred bill will be debated by the French parliament next week and could be fast-tracked into force in the autumn.
The bill is part of Macron's drive to internet censorship. He announced the planned crackdown on online hate at a dinner for Jewish groups last year, amid a rise of antisemitic acts in France, saying that hateful content online must be taken down
fast and all possible techniques put in place to find the identities of those behind it.
Last month, after meetings with Macron, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg agreed to hand over to judges the identification data on its French users suspected of hate speech.
The French law to censor politically incorrect insults on social media websites by the National Assembly on Friday.
Under the French draft law, social media groups would have to put in place tools to allow users to alert them to clearly illicit content related to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
In the event a network fails to react in due course and/or offer the necessary means to report such content, they could face fines up to 4 per cent of their global revenues.
France's broadcasting censor, CSA, would be responsible for imposing the sanctions and a dedicated prosecutor's office would be created.
Several internet and freedom of speech advocacy groups have pointed out that bill paves the way for state censorship because it does not clearly define illicit content.
Imposing a 24-hour limit to remove clearly unlawful content is likely to result in significant restrictions on freedoms, such as the overblocking of lawful comments or the misuse of the measure for political censorship purposes, said Quadrature
du Net, a group that advocates free speech on the internet.
The group also highlighted that a law adopted in 2004 already demanded the removal of hateful content, but in a responsive way, leaving enough time to platforms for assessing the seriousness of the content under review.
The bill now passes to the French Senate for further debate.
Speaking on Radio 4's Heresy show last night, comedian Jo Brand joked:
Certain unpleasant characters are being thrown to the fore, and they're very, very easy to hate.
And I'm kind of thinking, why bother with a milkshake when you could get some battery acid?
That's just me, sorry, I'm not gonna do it, it's purely a fantasy. But I think milkshakes are pathetic, I honestly do. Sorry.
Presumably she was referring to Nigel Farage being hit with a milkshake whist campaigning before the European elections.
The gag was met with howls of laughter from the studio audience and show host Victoria Coren Mitchell didn't appear concerned by the remarks.
The gag has caused a bit of a flurry of complaints eliciting an initial response from the BBC.
The Sun reported that the BBC refused to apologise for the broadcast and said remarks on the comedy show were not intended to be taken seriously. A spokeswoman said:
Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken
But this of course highlights rather obvious injustice in the kangaroo court system whose jurisdiction is political correctness. Had a male comedian joked about similarly about a female politician, then that comedian would have been marched off
the premises, and the police would have been waiting on his doorstep when he arrived home. And I guess a similar thought would go through the mind of anyone reading about the BBC response to the joke.
But perhaps the BBC has realised that it has been to blatant in its biased version of PC justice and has taken the unusual action of asking interested viewers to be informed of the official response to the complaints by email rather than the BBFC
publishing its response on its website.
Meanwhile Nigel Farage has responded saying: T his is incitement of violence and the police need to act.
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom confirmed it had received 19 complaints from angry listeners since the show was broadcast.
Perhaps it is about time that the politically correct police and media realised that it is simply unjust to tacitly support the milkshaking of politicians who are considered politically incorrect. It is demonstrating the human failing that anyone
granted power over others, may and will use that power to abuse those less favoured. An observation that applies equally to all genders, sexualities, religions and races.
Jo Brand will be back on Radio 4 next week, as police confirmed they will take no further action over her comments.
The Telegraph understands that internally, the BBC are resolutely supporting Brand, with one insider saying:
Jo Brand is a much loved comedian and part of the Radio 4 family -- she will continue to be so, and will continue to appear on our programmes.
The full BBC response which was belatedly published on its website reads:
Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously. We
carefully considered the programme before broadcast. It was never intended to encourage or condone violence, and it does not do so, but we have noted the strong reaction to it. Comedy will always push boundaries and will continue to do so, but
on this occasion we have decided to edit the programme. We regret any offence we have caused.
It is good that the BBC is standing up against political correctness censorship but it seems unlikely that the BBC would be so supportive of a male comedian. In fact this case could set an interesting precedent as very few other complaints get
quite so close to actually inciting violence as Jo Brand's comment. So surely any future sacking for a PC joke will always be compared with this deciion.
Meanwhile Ofcom said they had received 287 complaints about the comments. Ofcom allows complaints about BBC programmes to be assessed by the BBC first, so it will take some time, if ever, before Ofcom considers the case.
The BBC issues a fortnightly report on complaints received. The latest issue reveals that the BBC received 2971 complaints about Heresy. The BBC summarised that the complainants: Felt Jo Brand's humour was offensive or could incite violence
The Australian TV show 20 To One has been forced to apologise to Korean boys band BTS over a segment that's been claimed to be racist and mocking.
It seems that the band has large fanbase dubbed the Army who follow their every move and will defend their greatness to the ends of the earth.
And it seems that the Army didn't much care for the mocking tone of the Australian show.
Co-hosts Erin Molan and Nick Cody began the segment by calling BTS the biggest band you've never heard of BTS at the Grammys.
Irish comedian Jimmy Car was involved in the show and in an interview segment he quipped:
When I first heard something Korean had exploded in America, I got worried. So it could have been worse. But not much worse.
The fans weren't impressed, one wrote
We demand sincere apology for your report full of racist, misogyny, malice on BTS and their fans. Also for the insensitive reference of missile threat.
This forced the show to issue an apology on social media in English and Korean that read: We apologise for any disrespect and offence taken.
Mean while in another incident, Jimmy Car was on far stronger, proper politically incorrect form with his Terribly Funny stand up show currently on tour. He offended with the quip: Is a dwarf an abortion that made it?
Charity Little People UK has asked Carr to drop the joke -- while fellow comedian TanyaLee Davis has also called him out over the gag.
Davis, who makes light about her own 3ft 6in height in her routines, asked Carr on Twitter: You have met me. Am I an abortion who made it?
ASA's new rule banning harmful gender stereotypes in ads has come into force.
The new rule in the Advertising Codes, which will apply to broadcast and non-broadcast media (including online and social media), states:
[Advertisements] must not include gender stereotypes that are likely to cause harm, or serious or widespread offence.
This change follows a review of gender stereotyping in ads by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Following the review, CAP (the rulle writing arm of ASA) consulted publicly on specific proposals to ban harmful gender stereotypes in
ads, underpinned by the evidence collected by the ASA. The proposed restrictions were supported by a majority of respondents.
The evidence does not show that the use of gender stereotypes is always problematic and the new rule does not seek to ban gender stereotypes outright, but to identify specific harms that should be prevented.
The advertising industry has had six months to get ready for the new rule. The ASA will now deal with any complaints it receives on a case-by-case basis and will assess each ad by looking at the content and context to determine if the new rule
has been broken.
Scenarios in ads likely to be problematic under the new rule include:
An ad that depicts a man with his feet up and family members creating mess around a home while a woman is solely responsible for cleaning up the mess.
An ad that depicts a man or a woman failing to achieve a task specifically because of their gender e.g. a man's inability to change nappies; a woman's inability to park a car.
Where an ad features a person with a physique that does not match an ideal stereotypically associated with their gender, the ad should not imply that their physique is a significant reason for them not being successful, for example in their
romantic or social lives.
An ad that seeks to emphasise the contrast between a boy's stereotypical personality (e.g. daring) with a girl's stereotypical personality (e.g. caring) needs to be handled with care.
An ad aimed at new mums which suggests that looking attractive or keeping a home pristine is a priority over other factors such as their emotional wellbeing.
An ad that belittles a man for carrying out stereotypically female roles or tasks.
The rule and its supporting guidance doesn't stop ads from featuring:
A woman doing the shopping or a man doing DIY.
Glamorous, attractive, successful, aspirational or healthy people or lifestyles.
One gender only, including in ads for products developed for and aimed at one gender.
Gender stereotypes as a means to challenge their negative effects.
CAP will carry out a review of the new rule in 12 months' time to make sure it's meeting its objective to prevent harmful gender stereotypes.
An upcoming free speech platform promises to provide users the best features of other social media, but without the censorship.
The subscription based anti-censorship platform Thinkspot is being created by popular psychologist Dr. Jordan B. Peterson. It's being marketed as a free speech alternative to payment processors like Patreon in that it will monetize creators and
also provide a social media alternative to platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
Peterson explained in a podcast that the website would have radically pro-free speech Terms of Service, saying that once you're on our platform we won't take you down unless we're ordered to by a US court of law.
That will be a profound contrast to platforms that ban users for misgendering people who identify as trans, or for tweeting learn to code at fired journalists.
The only other major rule on comments he mentioned was that they need to be thoughtful. Rather than suggesting that some opinions are off limits, Peterson said they will have a minimum required length so one has to put thought into what they
If minimum comment length is 50 words, you're gonna have to put a little thought into it, Peterson said. Even if you're being a troll, you'll be a quasi-witty troll.
All comments on the website will have a voting feature and if your ratio of upvotes to downvotes falls below 50/50 then your comments will be hidden, people will still be able to see them, if they click, but you'll disappear. He later added that
these features could be tweaked as the website is still being designed.
Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe became the focus of a PC lynch mob when she touched on the topic of homosexuality when being interviewed on Sky's Sophie Ridge on Sunday. She speculated:
I also pointed out that there was a time when we thought it was quite impossible for men to become women and vice versa and the fact that we now think it is quite impossible for people to switch sexuality doesn't mean that science may not be
able to produce an answer at some stage.
This seems to acknowledge the current thinking on the subject and adds a idle speculation about the future. It hardly seems to be anything to get worked up about and much of the 'outrage' seems to have been generated by partially reporting the
quote as if she was speaking about something more current.
The resulting lynch mob managed to get her touring stage show, Strictly Ann: An Evening with Ann Widdecombe, banned from several venues.
But The Lowther Pavilion in Lythm, Lancashire bravely allowed her show to go on. Tim Lince, chairman of Lowther Theatre's Trust, said:
I do not feel we should be in the business of censorship. I believe the theatre is open for everybody to speak and that's a very important thing we should all defend. If there had been an incident where something had been said that had led to
police action, the board would have had no place in that. The Lowther would not support anything where there has been police action.
Ihe theatre issued a statement in which it said:
The right of free speech in the theatre was long fought and should be protected so that all opinions can be represented. Lowther Pavilion has always had an inclusive performance and use policy and this has been represented by previous and future
presentations booked at the theatre.
About 25 people protested outside the theatre with little effect.
Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo is a 2019 France comedy romance by Abdellatif Kechiche.
Starring Shaïn Boumedine, Ophélie Bau and Salim Kechiouche.
It's the end of summer vacation for Amin. The young photographer spends cozy evenings with Charlotte, the ex-girlfriend of his Casanova cousin. She talks to him about literature, he photographs her.
Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo has made a splash at the Cannes Film Festival 2019 sparking 'outrage' amongst feminists. The film is directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, who had a hit with Blue Is the Warmest Color , infuriated a few
viewers who claimed it was rife with objectification and voyeurism.
The film featured what Indie Wire said appeared to be an un-simulated oral sex scene and gratuitous close-ups of women's butts. Apparently the that while the sex seemed consensual, feminists warned it drips with the male gaze. Producer Patricia
I just walked out of Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo. The most lacivicious [sic] leery trash I've seen. Eurgh! Talk about objectification and voyeurism.
The Daily Mail adds
An almost unwatchable lech fest of a film by one of France's top directors that includes some two and a half hours of twerking and pole dancing was savaged at the Cannes film festival Friday. Critic Boyd van Hoeij from the Hollywood Reporter
Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo consists of three-hours-plus of jiggling female butts. Oral-sex intermezzo aside, this is basically 'Twerking Female Fannies: The Movie,' said Boyd van Hoeij. Sitting through it was its own kind of hell. If only one
could unsee and unhear it.'
Exeter Cathedral has banned a Ukip candidate from taking part in hustings for Thursday's European elections.
Carl Benjamin, blogging as Sargon of Akkad, is the focus of a PC lynch mob after making a rape joke referencing Jess Phillips. He had been due to speak at the event alongside other candidates for the South West England region on Wednesday
In a statement, Exeter Cathedral justified the censorship supposedly being concerned about milk shakes being thrown. The church said:
Under the rules of the Electoral Commission, we may exclude candidates from a non-selective hustings for a number of reasons, including concerns about public order.
In this case, the cathedral believes that the presence of one particular candidate may cause a risk to public order, given a number of incidents over the last few weeks. Ukip has been invited to send another candidate from its list of six
candidates standing for election in the South West region.
Ukip's Devon chair, Margaret Dennis, said the move was outrageous and an affront to democracy. She told DevonLive :
The hustings are either open for the public to discuss and debate or it is an attempt to censor and restrict an opportunity to hear a range of views at this election.
She said Benjamin was an articulate and intelligent advocate not only for our party but for free speech.
The Siege of Tel Aviv by Hesh Kestin, a parody novel, had been pulled by its independent publisher, Dzanc Books after a Twitter lynch mob claimed the book to be Islamophobic and racist.
Kestin explained that the publisher had initially stood its ground against the Twitteridiots who attacked it, but later buckled under pressure.
The book had earlier been endorsed by some big names including Stephen King who said it was scarier than anything he ever wrote, but also that:
An irrepressible sense of humor runs through it ... it's stuff like the cross-dressing pilot (my favorite character) and any number of deliciously absurd situations (the pink jets). It's the inevitable result of an eye that sees the funny side,
even in horror. So few writers have that. This novel will cause talk and controversy. Most of all, it will be read.
The book's promotional material reads:
Iran leads five armies in a brutal victory over Israel, which ceases to exist. Within hours, its leaders are rounded up and murdered, the IDF is routed, and the country's six million Jews concentrated in Tel Aviv, which becomes a starving
ghetto. While the US and the West sit by, Israel's enemies prepare to kill off the entire population.
On the eve of genocide, Tel Aviv makes one last attempt to save itself, as an Israeli businessman, a gangster, and a cross-dressing fighter pilot put together a daring plan to counterattack. Will it succeed?
It seems to have been the promotional material that was the basis for the Twitterstorm. Writer Nathan Goldman Goldman said that as soon as he read the marketing copy of the book -- he says he has not read the book in its entirety-- he knew the
racist rhetoric it was implying.
Emmy Award-winning poet Tariq Luthun, who also engaged in the Twitter conversation, said that he doesn't know the writer's specific ideologies, but what he read in the description and the excerpt available online goes beyond Islamophobia.
Steve Gillis, co-founder of Dzanc Books, apologised.
If an error has been committed, it is not in our intent, but in the failure to consider how readers might perceive the novel. It was my own blindness, and reading the novel as a parody, which has me so troubled now.
When Disney's streaming service Disney Plus launches in the US in November this year. It will feature a back catalogue of many years of Disney films with one exception. Namely the 1946 film Song of the South, which has long been a
controversial title for Disney because of how it depicts the lives of African-American plantation workers in the southern states after the civil war.
The company has also decided to cut a scene from Dumbo that is considered racist.
Song of the South grossed $65m at the US box office but was never released on DVD in the country, partly because of criticism about its depiction of the lives of Uncle Remus and other former slaves on a plantation as idyllic.
However, erasing the film from the company's history isn't simple. The success of the song Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah -- which features in the film, won an Oscar in 1947 and is one of Disney's most well-known songs -- makes it extremely difficult
to quietly forget.
Also the Jim Crow scene from Dumbo (1941) will not be available on the streaming site. In the original animated version of the film a number of cigar-smoking crows had a leader called Jim Crow referencing the Jim Crow laws which enforced racial
segregation in the south. The Disney crows are largely considered to be thinly veiled racist caricatures.
Update: Fantasia too
30th April 2019.
Thanks to Gary who reminds us that Fantasia (1940) has already been censored by Disney for political correctness. From IMDb:
For the 60th anniversary DVD, one scene on the Pastoral sequence was digitally altered to remove a black centaurette. In the scene, Bacchus is being lead to his throne, while the black centaurette rolls out a red carpet. The change now makes the
carpet appear to be rolling by itself.
Gary also suggests that Sebastian from The Little Mermaid and the Siamese scene from The Aristocats will also have to go.
A queer porn film festival in London this weekend was forced to relocate after protests by aggressive feminists.
Faced with the prospect of a picket, organisers of the festival, which describes itself as celebrating queer, feminist, radical and experimental porn, pulled screenings from the Horse Hospital, an arts venue in Bloomsbury. The three-day event was
instead be held at a new location disclosed only to ticket holders.
Despite the festival's progressive intentions, multiple complaints about the festival had earlier been made to Camden council.
Janice Williams, chair of the activist group Object , clamed the films on show promoted degradation and oppression. In a letter to Camden council, Williams singled out a festival strand titled Sex Work Is Work claiming the festival
was to show extreme pornographic images and pornography that is likely to result in serious injury to the performers.
Festival organiser Rude Jude responded:
These are not violent or extreme in the legal definition,Some of the films show practices that some people aren't into, but that is very different.
Meanwhile the coordinators of a separate pressure group, Women Against Pornography , spouted:
Feminist pornography is an oxymoron -- feminism is not about individualistic wishes or desires, it is about liberating all women from the oppression of males. This can never be achieved by being tied up in a bed or by telling women that torture
will make them free.
Nimue Allen, whose film Fisting Fun was shown as part of the Brazen Brits strand on Friday, says the festival has proved an inspiration for performers. Festivals like this are so important to show that there are alternatives to the
mainstream porn -- Centring people of colour, trans performers, queer sex of all types -- and allowing people to see themselves represented on screen -- is something that needs to be done so much more often.
Offsite Comment: Progressive Porn Vs Regressive Feminists
A Barcelona school has removed 200 children's books it considers sexist including Little Red Riding Hood and the story of the legend of Saint George, from its library.
The Tàber school's infant library of around 600 children's books was reviewed by the Associació Espai i Lleure as part of a project that aims to highlight hidden sexist content . The group reviewed the characters in each book, whether or not they
speak and what roles they perform, finding that 30% of the books were highly sexist, had strong stereotypes and were, in its opinion, of no pedagogical value.
According to Associació Espai i Lleure, if young children see "strongly stereotypical" depictions of relationships and behaviours in what they read, they will consider them normal. Anna Tutzó, a parent who is on the commission that
reviewed the books, told El País that "society is changing and is more aware of the issue of gender, but this is not being reflected in stories". Masculinity is associated with competitiveness and courage, and "in violent
situations, even though they are just small pranks, it is the boy who acts against the girl", which "sends a message about who can be violent and against whom".
Sony has confirmed a new set of censorship rules toning down sexually themed games on the PlayStation 4.
A Sony spokeswoman confirmed the company has established its own guidelines 'so that gaming 'does not inhibit the sound growth and development' of young people. This is allegedly a result of executives at the company being afraid the sale of
sexually explicit games might hurt its global reputation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, One of their biggest concerns is software sold in the company's home market of Japan, which traditionally has had more tolerance for near-nudity and images of young women.
The Wall Street Journal points to two main reasons for the new policy based on its conversations with unnamed Sony officials. The first is the rise of the #MeToo movement. The second is the growing ubiquity of streaming platforms like Twitch and
YouTube where sexually explicit games coming out of Japan can find a global audience.
Sony is concerned the company could become a target of legal and social action, a Sony official in the U.S. told the Wall Street Journal.
The new guidelines are in contrast to Nintendo, which told the Wall Street Journal that sexually explicit games can be sold on the Switch as long they receive a rating from a national ratings agency.
An example of the news rules is the adult visual novel Nekopara Vol. 1 , which includes partial nudity and the option to pet female characters using a virtual cursor, released on Nintendo Switch last summer with a rating of Mature 17+
while the PS4 version was delayed until November. When it finally came out, fans reported several changes that made it less sexually explicit, including extra steam in bath scenes and the removal of a slider players could use in the other
versions to make characters' breasts jiggle more.
The Daily Star has stopped featuring topless glamour pictures. In a statement, the newspaper's editor Jonathan Clark explained that it had been testing out a new strategy for its Page 3 format since 2 April.
We've listened to reader feedback and are currently trialing a covered-up version of Page 3.
The publication will continue to have a page dedicated to featuring young women, but they will appear in either lingerie or swimwear as opposed to being topless.
The newspaper's announcement comes four years after The Sun abolished its Page 3 Girl feature, something it had maintained for 40 years.
British-born academic Dr George Sandra Larke-Walsh, of the University of North Texas, has published a paper claiming writers of the TV series Peaky Blinders use the war as an excuse to justify and romanticise violent behaviour.
Larke-Walsh said the show justified the brutal violence by portraying the characters as damaged by World War One. She claims the characters, including Cillian Murphy's gang leader Tommy Shelby, are all shown to be damaged by the war to excuse
their criminal actions.
Larke-Walsh also claims they are made out as Robin Hood-esque characters fighting for survival in a corrupt world while they also use the Shelby family's gypsy heritage as a distraction. She writes:
[Peaky Blinders] utilises nostalgia for nationalism, enacted within displays of extreme aggression as well as promoting regressive masculine ideals ... In the current sociopolitical environment, and associated concerns about the prevalence of
toxic masculinity, such presentations no longer feel safely confined to fantasy.
The paper, titled The King's shilling: How Peaky Blinders also claims the show uses Murphy's naked body to elicit homosexual desire but then asserts heterosexuality through brutal violence. Larke-Walsh added:
There is no doubt that all audiences are meant to find the characters visually attractive. It is a feature of regressive masculinity that homosexuality must be denied.
The drama has won a host of awards and has an average audience of around 4 million per episode.
BBC News staff have been told not to tweet personal views after an LGBT debate on Question Time. The BBC has emailed all news staff warning they could face internal sanctions if they express strong political views on Twitter.
BBC Breakfast presenter Ben Thompson was among the staff at the broadcaster who publicly criticised Question Time last week for allowing an audience member to ask the question: Is it morally right that five-year-old children learn about LGBTQ+
issues in school? The question referenced muslim protests at Birmingham and Manchester aschools where young children are being taught about diversity and family life.
Many LGBT members of staff at the BBC have privately told the Guardian of anger within the newsroom at how the BBC has allowed to turn the issue into a valid debate.
The BBC's director of news, Fran Unsworth, told staff :
We all have personal views, but it is part of our role with the BBC to keep those views private, she said in an email to staff. Our editorial guidelines say BBC staff must not advocate any particular position on a matter of public policy,
political or industrial controversy, or any other 'controversial subject'. That applies to all comments in the public domain, including on social media. There is no real distinction between personal and official social media accounts.
We are living in a period of highly polarised opinions on a range of subjects and the BBC frequently faces criticism for the way we report and analyse events, with our impartiality called into question.
Many of these criticisms are unfounded and we are prepared to defend ourselves robustly where necessary. We also need to make sure our own house is in order.