A French television presenter has been slammed after he created a fake gay dating profile and then mocked the men who responded to his ad, live on air.
Cyril Hanouna, who pretended to be bisexual and used a high pitched voice, spoke to the men on the phone during his popular show Touche pas à mon poste (“Don’t touch my TV”).
Under the name of Jean-José, he claimed in the fake profile to be a “very sporty and well endowed” man who “liked being insulted”.
Hanouna made flamboyant gestures during the segment and got the men to reveal their sexual fantasies without them knowing that they were being heard by almost 2 million viewers.
The nightly primetime programme, which was broadcast the day after the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, received almost 20,000 complaints from members of the public.
One of the victims, said activists, was left in a “state of appalling distress” after the humiliating programme.
In an open letter, the group SOS Homophobia accused Hanouna of using “homophobic stereotypes aimed at degrading homosexuals…”
The organisation wrote that, “under cover of humour, you reinforce homophobia, you feed it, you give it legitimacy”.
It called for the French broadcasting regular CSA to impose sanctions against Hanouna in order to show that “such attitudes are no longer tolerated”.
SOS Homophobia urged Hanouna to “hear and take into account the indignation provoked by this segment of your programme and to stop humiliating LGBTI people”.
The group added: “Your words have weight. Use them to truly build a society of openness and respect, in which everyone can be, live and love freely.”
The presenter has often been accused of homophobia and sexism in the past, but has insisted that he is not homophobic. He said on Friday that he was “hurt” by the latest accusations.