‘This is not tolerant Paris’, says official after French jogger spits at Moroccan influencer

A young woman, wearing a green hijab and figure-hugging dress, gives a thumbs-up sign on a Paris street
Ms Saidi said the attack left her feeling 'filled with rage' - Fatima Saidi

Officials in Paris have scrambled to reassure visitors that their city does not condone misogyny or racism, after footage of an apparent racist attack on a Moroccan influencer went viral.

Fatima Saidi, 22, said a jogger spat on her hijab, in an apparent hate crime while she was wandering around the 7th arrondissement near the Eiffel Tower with a friend on Wednesday.

In one of several videos of the incident, she catches up with the grey-haired Frenchman whom she says was responsible.

When she aims her camera phone in his direction, he spits a second time and gives her the finger, before running in the opposite direction and mumbling something inaudible under his breath.

“I don’t want him to get away with this. I’m filled with rage, I’m filled with impotence,” Ms Saidi said in one of the videos.

Since it was posted on Thursday, one of the videos has been viewed 4.6 million times on TikTok alone.

It was Ms Saidi’s first trip to Paris from Spain, where she lives. She vowed not to let the man get away with his act of aggression, which she characterised as both racist and misogynist.

She said in the video: “He doesn’t know that he messed with the wrong girl. I’m actually going to go report him now.”

‘Against the spirit of tolerance’

The incident drew reaction from Emmanuel Grégoire, one of the city’s deputy mayors, who condemned the incident as “both an attack against the Muslim religion and against women” and said it was “against the spirit of tolerance and openness which characterises Paris”.

It was only the latest viral video from a foreign visitor to force French officials into damage control, months before the country hosts the Olympics, the biggest international event of the year.

In January, an American influencer’s TikTok video, France Made Me Cry, also went viral. “Angela” filmed herself in tears, complaining that her experience travelling solo in Lyon was isolating and that locals made her feel “stupid” for not knowing the culture and language.

A Beijing-born content creator from San Francisco who calls herself RealPhDFoodie on TikTok, she advised solo travellers against visiting Lyon.

This prompted the city’s tourism office to extend a public invitation to arrange a new visit through them.