Social media full of 'bogus' images of Paris Pride March
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After the Gay Pride March that took place in Paris on Saturday, several different far-right organisations and individuals supporting such extreme causes started sharing “shocking” photos online to denounce what they called a “shameful” march. However, many of the photos circulating were not at Saturday’s march--- they were taken years ago and not in Paris.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched on Saturday, June 30, in the streets of the French capital to call for equal rights for the LGBTQ community and to condemn discrimination. As with all Pride Marches, there was a festive atmosphere, with many using the occasion to show their creativity with costumes. Just like every year, there was a wide array of extravagant and often provocative clothing.
After the march, as is often the case, certain social media users began posting photos that they claimed were taken during the march along with homophobic messages. However, many of these photos were not from Saturday’s march through Paris.
'Bogus' photos of naked men, crucifixes and kisses on the lips
This tweet was posted by Frédéric Pichon, the vice president of SIEL, an extreme sovereignist micro party. The photos shows two mostly naked men with their genitals covered by a crucifix.
However, if you do a simple Google Reverse Image search, you can find the original posting of this photo. It was taken in Brazil in 2013. It shows activists dressed up to protest World Youth Day, an event for young people organised by the Catholic Church, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 2013.
Another example: this tweet, which sparked a series of comments calling gay people “paedophiles” or "lecherous".
Un hetero aurait ete mis sur le registre des pervers sexuels pour beaucoup moins que ca. pic.twitter.com/Fw3nbAi3QoAldo Sterone (@AldoSterone111) 1 juillet 2018
Tweet: A hetero person would have been put on the sex offenders list for a lot less than that.
However, just like the first example, Google Reverse Image reveals that this image wasn’t even taken in France. It was actually taken in June 2015 during a Pride March in New York. Moreover, many parents-- including heterosexual parents-- kiss their children on the lips.
Photos taken in Paris… but a long time ago
On July 1, former French minister Nadine Morano posted two photos on Twitter showing what she called the “exhibitionism” of participants.
NON, Je n’ai pas la même notion de la « fierté »qu’En Marche ... pauvre France décadente. Respect pour L’Assemblée Nationale, Respect pour notre drapeau Français qui doit pavoiser nos institutions. Respect pour les citoyens qui n’ont pas à subir ces exhibitions ! pic.twitter.com/zVWy5u79m3Nadine Morano (@nadine__morano) 1 juillet 2018
"No, I don’t have the same idea of “pride” as En Marche. Poor decadent France. Respect for the National Assembly, respect our French flag which should adorn our institutions. Respect for citizens, who shouldn’t be subjected to these exhibitions"
The photo on the right, which shows the French National Assembly decorated with a rainbow flag-- the symbol of the LGBTQ community, is a real photo taken during this year’s Paris Pride March.
However, while the photo of the two men with bare bottoms was taken in Paris, but it isn’t from this year's march: It is in fact an image used back in July 2012 by the French far-right newspaper "Minute".
Back when the debate on marriage equality in France was kicking off, the Minute newspaper published this photo with the headline “Gay marriage: soon, they will be able to get all dressed up… with a ring on their finger” and another headline stating, “AIDS: despite the risks, they will give you their blood”.
SOS Homophobie - a French rights organisation - sued the paper for inciting hatred and publishing abuse. The Paris criminal court found the newspaper guilty and the newspaper received a 4,000 euro fine, plus 3,000 euros in damages.
Similarly, activist Henda Ayari, who often speaks out about the importance of a separation between the state and religious institutions, posted a photo and a tweet questioning why children were allowed at “these protests.”
Je suis contre l'homophobie,il est important de soutenir les minorités, mais je me demande pkoi ces enfants ne sont pas préservés face aux pratiques sadomaso affichées par leurs adeptes pendant ces manifs?Un enfant ça se respecte! La protection des mineurs doit être une priorité! pic.twitter.com/6YiKHcWeuoHenda Ayari (@Henda_Ayari) 1 juillet 2018
"I am against homophobia, it is important to support minorities but i’m wondering why these children weren’t spared from seeing sadomasochism on display by its fans during these protests? Children should be respected! Protecting minors should be a priority!"
She posted this message along with a photo showing men wearing SM outfits parading down the street, with children walking behind them.
In the photo, you can see red flag that resembles that of the CGT union, making it likely that this photo was taken in France. However, when you run a Google Reverse Image search, several links suggest that the photos were taken during a Gay Pride March in Kiev.
However, it turns out that this photo is often used incorrectly to denounce the so-called “indecency” of LGBTQ celebrations all over the world. The example below is from Italy.
When there are several different possible solutions, as is the case with this photo, you can often find the answer by digging through the comments sections. In this case, one commenter shared a similar photo featuring the same people, which he says was taken during a Pride March in Bordeaux, France in June 2016.
Cette photo a été prise par moi-même le 4/6/16 à Bordeaux lors de la marche des fiertés. Il s’agit des mêmes protagonistes donc stop avec vieille photo prise en Ukraine ou je ne sais où. Pas du meilleur goût, certes, mais la Marche est aussi un carnaval... pic.twitter.com/9l2egfyHrAOlympe Soufflot ???? (@OlympeSoufflot) 1 juillet 2018
"This photo was taken by me on June 4, 2016 during the Pride March in Bordeaux. It shows the same people so stop with the old photo taken in Ukraine or I don’t know where. It’s not in the best taste, for sure, but the March is also a carnival! "
The FRANCE 24 Observers team then found other photos showing the same men taken during the 2016 Bordeaux Pride March by French news agency Agence France Presse.
In the comments section, the person who first posted the image claimed that he had “never said that the photo came from yesterday’s Gay Pride". However, many other people shared this image, linking it with the Paris Pride Parade (check out an example below from the fundamentalist political party Civitas).
The best misinformation campaigns include photos from different sources
That photo – as well as the photo of the two bare-bottomed men-- also appeared in a post calling the Pride March a #MarchofShame. That post alone was retweeted more than 2,000 times.
Detractors of LGBTQ movements on social media often mix up photos from different places and different years.
In the post below, for example, there are images of a child crying in front of a naked man in the midst of a march and another showing a man wearing a penis costume.
However, even though it is difficult to find exact information on the origins of these photos, a quick Google Reverse Image search shows that both of those photos are, indeed, old (see here and here).
In summation, before sharing an image, it’s better to verify that it's not bogus or fake.
To find out more, you can check out the France 24 Observers guide by clicking on the photo below.