Paris funfair king claims city is run by ‘gay perverts’ in challenge to mayor

The man known as the king of funfairs in Paris, France, is under fire for using homophobic language against the city officials during a meeting discussing his political ambitions for the 2020 municipal election.

A recording from a meeting held in January, and obtained and published by the TV news show Journal du Dimanche (JDD) on Saturday (September 22), allegedly contains a diatribe from Marcel Campion likening gay people to “perverts.”

Campion held the meeting to launch his movement Paris Libéré (Paris Freed), through which he plans to put forward a candidate for Mayor of Paris to oppose the governing Socialist Party, but not run himself.

Campion used incendiary language to describe city officials, with whom he’s been embroiled over the years in a series of battles around permits for his fairground business.

In one of the latest controversies, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo ordered Campion’s ferris wheel to be dismantled from Place de la Concorde, where the installation has been located for years—”more or less legally,” as AFP noted, because of alleged irregularities in the concession he was awarded in 2015.

Campion singled out former First Deputy Mayor Bruno Julliard, who is openly gay, in his attack. “He brought in all the gays of the planet. That means that the whole city is governed by gays.” he said.

He continued: “Me, I have nothing against gays—I usually say ‘fags’ but I was told yesterday that you shouldn’t say that anymore. So I do not say ‘fags’ anymore, I say ‘gays.’ I have nothing against them except they are a little perverse.”

Campion then repeated the claim he doesn’t have an issue with LGBT+ people, but “those,” referring to the city officials, “are perverts.”

Marcel Campion takes part in a demonstration of fairground stallholders near the Louis Vuitton foundation, on April 30, 2018 in Paris, to protest the municipality’s decision to transfer “Jardin d’acclimatation” to the LVMH luxury group. (Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty)

Julliard reacted to the video with a message posted on Twitter in which he called to fight all instances of homophobia. “Homophobia must be fought relentlessly, because it oppresses, stigmatises and kills every day. These abject statements and their perpetrator will be prosecuted.”

Campion also criticised Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo for an infamous 2014 Christmas tree installation—which had been compared to a giant sex toy when it was first exhibited, was destroyed by vandals and exposed its creator, LA-based artist Paul McCarthy, to physical assault—calling it an “anal plug” for “perverts,” adding that “Christmas is for children.”

Hidalgo issued a statement in reaction to the video. “I condemn Marcel Campion’s unacceptable remarks. Homophobia will never have a place in Paris. Legal action will be taken,” she wrote.

The French LGBT+ rights organisation SOS Homophobie also reacted to Campion’s remarks, saying in a statement it is exploring legal options against Campion.

“SOS Homophobia is discussing with its lawyers the opportunity to file a complaint against Marcel Campion following his vile and profoundly homophobic remarks,” the organisation tweeted on Sunday.

The French capital has seen several acts of anti-LGBT vandalism this year, including the defacing of a plaque commemorating the last men executed for homosexuality and of a rainbow crossing in occasion of the Pride march.