Trial opens against women spreading false transgender claims about Brigitte Macron

Two women were in court this week over false claims that France's first lady Brigitte Macron is transgender, an allegation which sparked online rumour-mongering by conspiracy theorists and the far right.

In 2022, Brigitte Macron filed a complaint for libel against two women who posted a YouTube video in December 2021 alleging she had once been a man named "Jean-Michel".

The claim went viral just weeks before the 2022 presidential election.

The trial on defamation charges comes amid a frenetic campaign for snap legislative polls called by President Emmanuel Macron after the far right trounced his party in EU parliamentary elections earlier this month.

Amandine Roy, a self-proclaimed spiritual medium, appeared in a Paris court on Wednesday to answer questions about the interview she conducted with Natacha Rey, an independent journalist who did not turn up to the hearing, citing illness.

Roy had interviewed Rey for four hours on her YouTube channel in which the journalist spoke about the "state lie" and "scam" that she claimed to have uncovered.

Rey was "desperate to share her work", according to Roy, who had merely "acquiesced to her request".

As for the credibility of the claims, Roy insisted that Rey "had spent three years researching, it's not like she pulled it out of her hat".

Read more on RFI English

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