A secret workforce of principally male French reporters had been accused of coordinating a sprawling, yearslong marketing campaign of harassment abusing ladies writers, feminist activists, other people of colour, and LGBT other people.
The gang, Ligue du LOL, or LOL League, has been running for roughly a decade. To this point, 3 reporters had been suspended, one has resigned, and one has been fired for the reason that accusations had been made public on-line. Other folks running at 4 of France’s greatest information shops had been implicated.
The LOL League began as a Fb workforce in 2009 by way of journalist Vincent Satisfied, who now works at one in every of France’s biggest newspapers, Libération. The gang operated as a shitposting house for other people in French journalism and promoting who had been widespread on Twitter.
The present controversy began when Slate France journalist Thomas Messias tweeted cryptically closing week a few “type reporter” who “used to have amusing in a pack of feminist stalkers.”
The lifestyles of the LOL League has been a rumor inside French media since its get started, and lots of younger reporters in France straight away understood Messias’s tweet was once in regards to the workforce.
Messias’s tweet was once quoted by way of Libération journalist and LOL League member Alexandre Hervaud, who mockingly known as it a “courageous subtweet” and mentioned he wasn’t certain whom Messias was once speaking about. Then some other Twitter person, @IrisKV, requested Hervaud at once about harassing her. Her tweets had been the primary fresh point out of LOL League. The whole lot turns out to have kicked off from right here.
Libération then revealed a work on its fact-checking vertical investigating the dimensions and affect of the crowd. The piece was once titled “Has the LOL League actually existed and stressed feminists on social networks?” and it’s been broadly criticized since going are living closing week. Glamour France known as the piece “an aberration.” Some believed the piece was once downplaying the affect of the crowd.
“CheckNews feels that the critics towards its textual content are unfair, since we had been the primary outlet in France to in fact write about this workforce,” Jacques Pezet, a journalist for CheckNews informed BuzzFeed Information. “After all, this seemed within the CheckNews web page, which does numerous fact-checking, however not at all, did we make a decision to peer this investigation as a ‘debunking’ of a hoax or a faux information.”
Via Friday, the #ligueduLOL hashtag was once trending during France.
Masses of testimonies from sufferers who say they had been centered by way of the crowd flooded Twitter all weekend. Slate France contributor Lucile Bellan accused them of years of systemic harassment that undermined her self belief as a journalist. A French advertising supervisor named Benjamin LeReilly wrote a Medium piece accusing them of anti-gay and anti-feminist harassment that began 8 years in the past and has long gone on for years.
Journalist Melanie Wanga tweeted that she was once chased off Twitter by way of the LOL League in 2013. She described an interior circle of LOL League individuals surrounded by way of “cool women” in French media who safe them and helped them faux to be liberal and innovative in public.
A blogger named Capucine Piot tweeted that most often when the LOL League centered somebody for harassment and intimidation, it might kick off a wave of abuse from Twitter customers who were not at once hooked up to the crowd.
One of the vital extra critical accusations towards the crowd was once leveled by way of a videographer named Florence Porcel, who claims one of the vital LOL League individuals known as her pretending to be the editor-in-chief of a “outstanding” information program in France. The LOL League member interviewed her for a faux place after which posted the audio on Soundcloud.
David Doucet, the editor of Les Inrocks, a well-liked French cultural mag, admitted that he have been the only in the back of the pretend interview, writing in a remark that he had left the crowd six years in the past and did not perceive on the time the level of the trauma he had led to her.
Recently, the primary shops implicated are all liberal and left-leaning: Libération, Les Inrocks, Slate France, and Télérama. Satisfied, the founding father of the LOL League, wrote in a remark on Twitter that the crowd was once “a monster that he had misplaced keep watch over of” and apologized for his involvement. He was once suspended this week from the mag he is these days writing for. Doucet was once additionally suspended from Les Inrocks as a precautionary measure.
Because the scandal has grown over the weekend, non-public sexist teams very similar to the LOL League had been outed. An identical teams had been printed to had been running at Vice France and HuffPost France.
Bellan, the Slate France contributor who has since come ahead about her years of abuse by way of the LOL League, revealed a work this week about her enjoy staring at LOL League member Christophe Carron change into the editor of Slate France in 2017.
Bellan in her piece writes that Carron turning into editor made her concern for the column she was once running on on the time.
“Over time, the LOL League has change into a terrifying roughly hydra,” she wrote. “If we determined to by no means collaborate with individuals who have been hooked up to all of this, it might had been more uncomplicated to only alternate jobs.”