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Leave Brigitte Macron Alone

"Brigittegate" is a conspiracy manufactured by malicious, extremist influencers on both sides of the Atlantic

A unique product "100 per cent Made in France" has gone global. Except there is no cause for celebration in Paris. The successful export is a vile slander, catapulted across social media by an international extreme right cabal that spans the Atlantic and specializes in French-bashing.

Picking up on the repugnant falsehood accusing Brigitte Macron, the wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, of lying about her gender, American pro-Trump influencer Candace Owens posted a video on her YouTube channel on March 11. Declaring on X "the BIGGEST political scandal in human history", Owens' video quickly racked up more than one million views, and shares from conspiracists like Alex Jones. Owens went as far as to stake her entire professional reputation on the "fact" that Brigitte Macron is actually a man. Wild theories claiming the French First Lady was born male and transitioned around the age of 30 have circulated for years in France, and they have been repudiated by the courts. Last week President Macron spoke out against the false claims.

Source: Candace Owens/X, 03/11/2024.

Not that Owens cares. Yet even a basic investigation would have led the fervent Trump supporter Owens to realize that Jean-Michel Trogneux– the man whom conspiracists claim is really Brigitte Macron – and Brigitte Macron are two distinct individuals, a fact obstinately denied by a significant portion of France's conspiracy theory community for several years.

"If men would behave decently the world would be decent," wrote George Orwell. In such a world, everyone would remember that what is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without argument. Those who engage in spreading lies would be immediately struck by unanimous and definitive discredit. Their complicity with slander would render them ostracized. They would only be remembered as a cautionary tale to avoid. There is no wonder Brigitte Macron does not produce new proof of her womanhood. Under the rule of common decency, everyone would understand that no evidence will ever silence her harassers, that any attempt to justify herself would only fuel their suspicions, and that any document she could present would only serve to further the despicable gossip.

Alas, we do not live in a world where men behave as they should.

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Rudy Reichstadt
Rudy Reichstadt
Editorial Director of Conspiracy Watch, Rudy Reichstadt has published widely on conspiracy theories and online hate speech, including “Extending the domain of denial: conspiracism and negationism”. He is the author of two non-fiction books (in French), “L’Opium des imbéciles” (2019) and “Au cœur du complot” (2023). A regular contributor to the French newspaper Franc-Tireur, Rudy also co-hosts “Complorama”, a bi-monthly podcast on public radio France Info. He founded Conspiracy Watch (see the French edition here) in 2007.
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