A left-wing MP who was called a "shit" and a "buffoon" on air by one of France's best known chatshow hosts said Monday he would file a criminal complaint over the insults.
Cyril Hanouna, the host of the widely watched "TPMP" show on the private C8 channel, caused outrage with his remarks during a furious row with left-winger Louis Boyard last Thursday.
Hanouna was angered by the 22-year-old MP criticising billionaire media mogul Vincent Bollore who is Hanouna's friend, business partner and the owner of C8.
Accusing Boyard of wanting to "create a buzz", he suggested such comments were inappropriate on a Bollore-owned channel and hypocritical given that Boyard had previously been a paid pundit on the show.
Boyard, a former student trade unionist and media figure before being elected in June, accused Hanouna of trying to censor criticism of Bollore whom he claimed had "deforested Cameroon."
"The all-powerful Hanouna who thinks he can insult and intimidate anyone because they criticise his boss is unacceptable," Boyard told reporters on Monday, adding that he planned to file a criminal complaint.
"Whether you're an MP or not, a presenter should not insult someone live on air for having criticised the owner of his channel," he added.
Hanouna, who is of Tunisian origin, is one of France's most influential and well-paid chatshow hosts whose often feisty current affair debates are targeted at young people.
France's media regulator Arcom has confirmed it received complaints over the minutes-long row between the two men, meaning an investigation is underway.
It fined C8 three million euros over a 2017 sketch by Hanouna which was judged to be homophobic after he placed an advert for gay hook-ups then broadcast the conversations with respondents.
The speaker of the French parliament, ruling party MP Yael Braun-Pivet, said Sunday that the latest incident was "degrading for our public debate and the people in the studio."
Government spokesman Olivier Veran sad that "whether you like Louis Boyard or not, whether you share his ideas or not, he remains an elected figure."
Bollore is a conservative billionaire whose news channel CNews has been compared to Fox News in the US.
Having grown his family's logistics business into an empire with deep business interests in Africa, he has accumulated a vast media empire stretching from radio, TV, newspapers and publishing.