Farmer with a bepanted shovel wins France TV privacy payment • The Register
A French farmer who was filmed filming bird defenders with a shovel while in underwear has been awarded damages from a television company that filmed the incident for violating his privacy.
The set originally took place in 2015, when a French bird conservation group called the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO, or Bird Protection League in English) invited a group of journalists to accompany them. that they were investigating a farm in Audon in southwest France for bird traps.
Bird trapping, in which songbirds are trapped using various techniques and then eaten, is mostly prohibited in France, but it is still practiced in many regions either illegally or through legal exemptions issued for the small-scale trapping assumed.
According to thelocal.fr, the group duly entered the farm and began removing what they claimed to be illegal traps set for finches from an area planted with corn. They were then confronted by two men, including furious farmer Jean-Marc Dutouya, who appeared wearing a simple blue T-shirt and blue striped boxer shorts and wielding a long-handled shovel like a pike.
A fight ensued between avid bird enthusiasts and farmers in which a number of LPO members claimed to have been assaulted, Dutouya’s 80-year-old mother was allegedly pushed around and four vehicles had their tires slashed.
For his part in the hubbub, according to Agence France-Presse, Dutouya was fined € 400 in 2018 for violence with a weapon.
But the images of the fight shot by the journalists present went viral on the Internet and Dutouya and his striped pants caused a sensation on French-speaking Twitter, whose users mentioned the incident using the hashtag #Slipgate (which translates to # Underpantsgate).
The livid Frenchman became the unwitting hero of countless memes in which his underwear image – taken from a photograph of the confrontation published by the France-Presse agency – was superimposed on an unlikely environment, on works by famous art and movie scenes. A Twitter wag created an image in which the shovel was replaced with a lightsaber.
Due to his unwanted notoriety, Dutouya sued the national broadcaster France Télévisions – who was among the journalists present and had shot video footage of the incompletely dressed setback – for invasion of privacy and demanded damages of € 200,000. for his bruised feelings, if not for his cold legs.
Yesterday (September 15), a court in the neighboring town of Dax ruled in his favor, ordering France Télévisions to pay its legal costs and blurring its image in their images, but limiting its damages to only € 10,000.
After the victory, Dutouya’s lawyer, Frédéric Dutin, reacted with a dose of Gallic philosophy: “Can a man who is at home in his garden be thrown to the wolves in the old fashioned way?” The courts say no.
The register asked Mr Dutin for further comments.
While this can be seen as purely metaphorical, wild wolves began to recolonize France in the 1980s, moving from northern Italy to south-eastern France. It has been proven that they are now present in most of the south of the country, including in the Landes department of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region where Audon is located.
The population is very small and the animals are very suspicious of humans, so if Dutouya were to be cast to the wolves as his lawyer suggested, he should be thrown out very carefully, as bird lovers may want to take note. . ®