French politician to sue magazine for ‘outing’ him as gay

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A French far-right politician has said he will sue a magazine which “outed” him as gay, after it published photographs of him with a man.

Florian Philippot is the deputy leader of the French Front National – which was allied with the British National Party, and has been accused of fostering homophobic violence by aligning itself with aggressive anti-equal marriage factions and violent groups.

The French Closer magazine – which is a separate entity from the British version – is famed for its invasive exposes, printing topless photos of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton in 2012, and exposing President François Hollande’s alleged affair with an actress earlier this year.

Last week, the magazine printed revealing photos of Mr Philippot being intimate with another man, taken covertly with a long-lens camera.

French daily newspaper Le Parisien reports that Philippot is seeking €50,000 (£39,000) in damages and a further €5,000 (£3,900) in legal fees, as well as a ban on the newspaper using the pictures again.

FN leader Marine Le Pen has spoken up to defend her deputy leader, saying: “This is a very serious infringement of an individual’s privacy. This type of behaviour is unbearable – Florian Philippot is entitled to a private life as much as [President] Hollande.”

The far-right leader used the opportunity to call for greater press regulation, saying: “If these newspapers were condemned as they violate privacy, and fined corresponding to the money they have earned through this invasion of privacy, then they wouldn’t do this. It’s that simple than that.

“It’s profitability alone that allows these newspapers to carry out violations. If it was not profitable to do, believe me they would not.”

However, she has been joined by politicians from across the political spectrum in condemning the magazine – with David-Xavier Weiss, the National Secretary of the UMP, tweeting his disgust.

Socialist Nicolas Bays added that it was “unacceptable”.

The French edition of Closer magazine, published by Mondadori, is separate from the British magazine, published by Bauer Media.