Meurice and Netanyahu start a war

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Since comedian Guillaume Meurice was suspended from the air for having once again compared the Israeli Prime Minister to a “Nazi without a foreskin”, France Inter has been on fire. On Sunday, a columnist resigned live. Narrative.

06.05.2024, 16:4906.05.2024, 21:35

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Are the shortest jokes the best? It’s up to Guillaume Meurice and the management of France Inter to decide. In fact, the French comedian’s joke, released live on October 29, 2023 and in which he compared Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a “kind of Nazi without a foreskin”, is on the way to becoming the longest in the world. ‘history.

For more than six months, this little moment on the air has haunted the corridors of Radio France and torn the country apart over the difficult discussion of freedom of expression. But while we thought the affair had been deflated, on May 3, the columnist announced that he had been “suspended” from the air and “summoned to a preliminary interview with a view to a possible disciplinary sanction which could go as far as early termination of (my) fixed-term contract for serious misconduct.”

A new skirmish which comes a few days after Meurice repeated his joke on the air.

Just one valve and already around ten episodes. Shall we refresh your memory?

Two days after the October 29 broadcast, Adèle Van Reeth, director of France Inter, echoed the “expressed uneasiness”, affirming that a “limit has been crossed. Not that of law, but that of respect and dignity.” On November 1, the boss of the show The great Sunday evening took the floor to admit that she was “deeply sorry” that her listeners had “felt hurt”. Charline Vanhoenacker, while defending her columnist, also recognized that the geopolitical tensions had been “misjudged”.

On November 6, the president of Radio France will summon Guillaume Meurice to give him a “warning”, which he will contest all the way to the industrial tribunal.

On November 23, also buried under the grumbling of listeners, the audiovisual policeman sent a “warning” to France Inter. Threatened with death, the comedian will also be accused of “anti-Semitism” and in particular by the European Jewish Organization. A complaint dismissed on April 22.

So, simply “irreverent” or downright “irresponsible”, the famous “investigative comedian”? Between these numerous official episodes, detractors and supporters, politicians and Internet users, comedians and personalities fueled this emotional fight in tight flow. A debate which, from the first mention of the “Nazi without a foreskin”, suddenly relegated the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the role of an extra, in what became “the Guillaume Meurice vs. France Inter”.

Six months after the first missiles, a trend seems to be emerging: a “militant left” comedian, facing a public service that would come “dangerously close to power”. While the columnist’s supporters accuse the radio management of “Macronist censors”, his detractors refuse to pay for an “ideology”, like the right-wing MP François-Xavier Bellamy, interviewed on France Info, May 3 in the evening.

“I pay for the public service of the media and I believe that it is normal not to use these media to promote an ideology”

François-Xavier Bellamy, deputy Les Républicains

Proof that, in this story, Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a back seat, the last broadcast of Great Sunday evening transformed into a generalized tribute to the suspended colleague, because “solidarity still exists, and it is the best defense”, said Charline Vanhoenacker, in a manifesto which smacks of internal war:

“When it comes to freedom of expression, even if we have to go onto the field on one leg and blindfolded, we are going to play it this match”

If the comedian Aymeric Lompret armed his column to “explain the joke to the management”, it went as far as the live resignation of the comedian Djamil Le Shlag, who admitted no longer feeling in his “safe space”: “Guillaume is the opposite of Eric Zemmour who is a convicted repeat offender, but his channel supported him.

“In fact, there is more freedom of expression on CNews than on France Inter”

Comedian Djamil Le Shlag, before resigning live on Sunday on France Inter.

Finally, just to conclude on the same tone, singer GiedRé will also dedicate her air time to the decision of boss Adèle Van Reeth.

“It happens that legal decisions are not respected by the public service. Sometimes when we defend human rights, it ends up in the industrial tribunal”

GiedRé

What’s behind Bibi’s penis?

By reiterating his Zizi-Nazi revolt against the Israeli Prime Minister, Guillaume Meurice seemed to want to tell us that the hatchet was never buried. While the management of the radio brandished the idea that a joke which goes down so badly with listeners should be reconsidered, its columnists are determined to defend that of all-humor. But the endurance of this battle suggests that it may be deeper than the eternal question of whether “you can laugh at everything.”

For several days, several voices from France Inter have complained about having learned of the cancellation of their program. Quoted by The worlda producer of a recurring meeting was not very reassured: “Guillaume’s summons was all the more like a blow to us as the changes to the grid for 2025, which had been coming to us over the past few days, were already worrying us a lot”.

In bulk, The French-speaking bookstorethe portrait of Charlotte Perry, It’s almost tomorrow by Antoine Chao or the chronicle The day when by Anaëlle Verzaux, will no longer be on the air next season. For management, these are “economic” decisions, but also a “concern for readability of the grid”. Arguments kicked in by the station’s editorial team, in solidarity with Guillaume Meurice, who accuses the chefs of “erasing the rough edges”.

“Because populists are barking, we are sending field reporting, ecology, and satire with Guillaume into the trash. We are weakening the public service from within”

A France Inter employee, cited by The world

While Charline Vanhoenacker’s team had already shouted when the show was relegated to Sunday evening, this new formula is also threatened with a budget cut. For what? “Because the broadcast costs us the equivalent of three daily newspapers,” replied France Inter to World.

Do you find the atmosphere tense? The word is weak. Because let’s not forget that this “war” comes in the middle of a debate on the “pluralism” of television channels, which the Regulatory Authority for Audiovisual and Digital Communication was ordered to impose, under pressure from a Council of State which recently paraded the stars in audition. From Cyril Hanouna to Yann Barthès.

Guillaume Meurice will have to wait until May 16 to know his fate. Two weeks is a long time. Especially when the bloodshed is organized on the fringes of managerial decisions, on social networks and at a much faster speed than the agenda of any human resources department.

So, are the shortest jokes the best? Joker. One thing is certain, that of Meurice offered the least funny six months of public radio.

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