Béziers, France : There is widespread outrage on and off social media as 64-year-old Robert Ménard, Mayor of the French town of Béziers, appears to use a woman’s murder in an odious advertisement, Monday. Robert Ménard released a graphic new poster for his campaign to get TGV, France’s high-speed rail service, to extend its reach into the nation’s southwestern Occitanie region.
The poster says, “With the high-speed train, she’d have suffered less.”
Though the suggestion itself shocked netizens, many criticized Ménard,for taking advantage of the June murder of Émilie Hallouin, a 24-year-old who was killed after her husband tied her to a high-speed railway in Beauvilliers, France.
Both Hallouin and her husband, Guillaume Gremy, were killed by a TGV train.
Hours after the poster began to make the rounds on social media, people let their opinions fly.
”It takes a sick mind and a sewer moral to imagine such a campaign,” Sophia Chikirou wrote on Twitter. “Communicators too must be held accountable.”
— Sophia Chikirou (@SoChik75) December 11, 2017
”When I saw this picture for the first time, I thought it was a fake from FB’s ‘Dark Humor’ pages, but no, it’s unfortunately real,” said another user. “Here is the advertising campaign of a misogynist practicing feminicide culture. Shame on you, Menard.”
— Wasted Thrill ?✨ (@Vinaccessible) December 11, 2017
Public officials got in on the bashing, too.
“I appeal to the minister @MarleneSchiappa to launch legal proceedings without delay against the odious campaign launched by the mayor of Béziers,” Sébastien Denaja, the spokesperson for France’s Socialist Party, said in tweet.
— DenajaSébastien (@SebastienDenaja) December 11, 2017
Laurence Rossignol, France’s secretary of state for the family, senior citizens and autonomy, even chimed in.
“The indignation is essential, but it is also necessary to act: I have a complaint with the Prosecutor of Beziers to ask for the withdrawal of the posters and the prosecution against the authors,” she said.
— laurence rossignol (@laurossignol) December 11, 2017
The outrage hasn’t done much to convince Ménard, et al, of their wrongdoing.
Ménard fired off a series of tweets calling his critics “paranoid” and that the poster says “speaks volumes about the moral order that plagues [France].”
— Robert Ménard (@RobertMenardFR) December 11, 2017
Despite the similarities and shocking caption, Ménard concluded that the image is just a reference “to the world of Westerns.” He later added that he was “ashamed” for Rossignol’s move to “mix a victim of horrible news with our campaign.”