France: Magazine ordered to pay 20,000 euros for outing far-right politician

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A French court has ordered a gossip magazine to pay 20,000 euros (£15,674) in damages for “invasion of privacy” after having outed one of the far-right National Front party’s top officials.

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 Francois Hollande’s alleged affair with an actress earlier this year.

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.

Earlier this month, Closer published four pages of photos taken in Vienna of Mr Philippot with a television journalist presented as his boyfriend whose face was blurred out.

AFP reports Gregoire Lafarge, Mr Philippot’s lawyer, had argued in court that the magazine had not acted in the public interest but purely to make money.

“Mr Philippot is admittedly a public figure but he is not a celebrity and has always explained that sexuality is an intimate affair,” he said.

“To ‘out’ (someone) is to stigmatise. After sexuality, what will we throw out to the public – religion, health?”, added Mr Lafarge, who had initially asked for 50,000 euros in damages.

But Delphine Pando, lawyer for Closer, argued the magazine had revealed the information in the public interest.

She pointed out that Mr Philippot was high up in the National Front party, which was strongly divided on the issue of same-sex marriage.

On Wednesday a judge in Paris ruled Mr Philippot’s private life was not widely known and he never intended to publicly reveal it.

Closer was ordered to pay 20,000 euros (£15,674) in damages for “invasion of privacy”

The magazine was also told to publish the verdict on the front page and pay Mr Philippot 3,500 euros for his legal fees.

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