Florence Desruol was a freelance consultant living in Lyon when the attacks began in 2009. Hundreds of abusive messages were posted online, a false account was created in her name, and her head was Photoshopped on to pornograph images and published.
“I was called a ****, a ****, my face was grafted on to a picture of a naked woman having sex – it was all designed to humiliate and silence me,” she said.
Abuse - Group - Journalists - Paris - Heart
What stood out was that the abuse was coming from a group of young, influential journalists in Paris, many at the heart of prominent newsrooms and websites. About 30 men, several of whom were working for progressive or left-leaning media, had started a “boys’ club” called the Ligue du Lol (League of Lol).
They are accused of running online harassment campaigns against feminists, female journalists, writers of colour and gay people – often using false accounts to spread racist and sexist abuse and rape-threats. The French media were thrown into crisis this week when the full scale of abuse began to emerge. It has been deemed French media’s #MeToo moment.
Twitter - Stars - Moment - Desruol - Guardian
“They were the Twitter stars of the moment, they seemed untouchable, but I took them on,” Desruol told the Guardian. She contacted one senior website editor in 2010 to complain about his staff, but the abuse continued. She went to the police, who struggled to understand and instead suggested she quit social media. She drafted a letter to editors of major publications to alert them to the actions of their staff. But before it was sent, the draft was leaked online and the abuse got worse.
“At that point I had a burnout. I couldn’t open my computer, I couldn’t use my phone except to answer calls,” she said. She went offline for a while, returning later to work on Nicolas...
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