Fake report claims that Chanel boutiques in Paris were vandalised with Hitler stickers
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Did someone really put a decal of Hitler on the windows of Chanel boutiques in Paris? Nope, although that’s the story told by a video that has been circulating online. The video report looked real – it even had the logo of French newspaper Le Figaro. Lots of Russians shared the video, insisting that the luxury brand was guilty of “discrimination” after some staff refused to sell products to Russians due to European sanctions after the Ukraine invasion. Turns out, however, that Le Figaro never published this video and, according to Chanel, it was doctored.
If you only have a minute
- A video report with the logo of the French daily newspaper Le Figaro shows a decal combining the Chanel logo with Hitler’s face plastered on Chanel shops in Paris. The people who have been circulating this video online say it is a response to several incidents where Chanel staff refused to sell their products to Russian clients because of European Union sanctions banning the sale of luxury goods for use in Russia.
- Though the photos look real, Le Figaro says they never published this video and Chanel says none of its shops were defaced.
Fact check, in detail
The video report shows high-end Chanel boutiques that have been plastered with decals blending the Chanel logo with Adolf Hitler’s face. Text overlayed on the video explains in French what we are seeing.
“Decals in Hitler’s image appeared Sunday on all buildings housing Chanel’s offices and boutiques in Paris [...],” reads the caption. “This is probably in reference to the recent scandal involving Russian customers at Chanel. Chanel recently refused to sell clothes to Russian women in its shops in Dubai and Paris because of sanctions. [...] And in 2015, archives were discovered implying that Chanel played a role in supplying information to the Nazis.”
A fake report by Le Figaro
Lots of social media users contacted Le Figaro via Twitter to ask about the video. On April 7, the newspaper responded, denying that it had any link to the video.
“You are right, @Le_Figaro never published this video. It’s a fake publication, created using photoshopped images, which makes outrageous use of our logo. Le Figaro vigorously denounces this act,” the account tweeted in French.
The FRANCE 24 Observers team contacted Chanel for comment. “These images are photoshopped,” a brand spokesperson said, assuring that its shops hadn’t been defaced, adding, "It’s clearly fake news."
The photos were taken in front of four Chanel boutiques in Paris, located at 19 and 31 rue Cambon, 25 rue Royale and 42 avenue Montaigne.
Our team analysed the images but were unable to determine if they had been photoshopped or not. We also ran the video through a reverse image search but were unable to track down the source of the video.
The earliest instance of this video that we could find was this post from April 7, when it was shared on the Telegram channel of Baza, an independent Russian media outlet.
On the same day, the video was also posted on a Telegram channel run by Readovka, a Russian media outlet that gets its content from Russian government agencies. There, this post garnered more than 260,000 views.
The video was also posted the very same day on Instagram by Russian influencer Victoria Bonya.
Russian customers denounce Chanel sanctions
On April 6, a Russian socialite complained that she wasn’t allowed to buy a bag from a Chanel shop in Dubai because of her nationality. Since then, some Russian influencers have accused Chanel of discrimination and have complained publicly, including by posting their Chanel bags with the logo cut off.
Photos showing similar decals pasted on Chanel shops in Russia were posted online on April 8.
French news agency AFP interviewed Chanel about the incident. A spokesperson for the brand explained that the company was merely following EU sanctions on Russia, which include a ban on the direct or indirect sale, supply, transfer or export of luxury goods worth more than 300 euros to people in Russia or for use in Russia.
“That’s why we ask customers whose primary residence we don’t know to confirm that their purchases won’t be used in Russia,” the spokesperson added.
Coco Chanel and her Nazi past
Several biographies were published after the death of designer Coco Chanel including information about her relationship with Hans Günther Von Dincklage, a Nazi officer in occupied France during World War II and her collaboration with Nazi spies.