A French court has fined three people for tweeting a gay hate comment that called for the killing of gay people.
The three users included the homophobic hashtag “let’s burn the gays on…” (#brûlonslesgayssurdu) in their tweets in August 2013.
The tweets came in the wake of the controversial legalisation of same-sex marriage in France. The passing of the law divided the country and saw a wave of massive anti-gay protests, along with a spike in hate crime attacks against gay people.
The tweeters were taken to court by the Comité Idaho group, which organises the International Day Against Homophobia in France.
The three were found guilty by the Paris court of inciting hatred and violence on the basis of sexual orientation. It’s said to be the first such convictions in France, although the penalties were fairly light.
One user was fined €300 (Around R4,000) and the other two were fined €500 (R6,600). They were also ordered to pay damages in the same amounts to Comité Idaho. They could have been sentenced to up to a year in prison and a €45,000 (R600,000) fine.
“It’s a significant victory,” Alexandre Marcel, President of the Comité Idaho, told The Local. “But it’s a small amount to pay for calling for the death of homosexuals.”
Yohann Roszéwitch, President of SOS Homophobia, told MetroNews. “Hopefully this will raise awareness among the authors of such comments; often young people who, under the cover of anonymity and provocation, relay these messages without realising what they are doing.”