Over the weekend, the tag #lesgaysdoiventdisparaitrecar (“Gay people must die/disappear because”) hit the top of Twitter’s trending topics in France. That was shortly followed by #TeamHomophobes and "burn gays on the...", which asked users to finish the sentence with their own ideas—like a violently homophobic version of Mad Libs.
The French arm of IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) said Twitter allowed “the diffusion of a call for hatred against gay people” and plans to file a legal complaint.
“We support free expression, and we understand that there are some people who simply don’t like gay people, but this is a call for the extermination of the gay community,” IDAHO's Alexandre Marcel told The Local. “Twitter hasn’t deleted a single homophobic tweet, nor removed a single homophobic hashtag from its list of most popular trending terms.”
France's Minister of Women's Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem also condemned anti-gay speech in a tweet Saturday. After the tag #SiMonFilsEstGay ("If my son is gay...") trended in December, Vallaud-Belkacem met with Twitter to discuss hate speech in the community. That tag picked up momentum again Monday.
It's not the first time Twitter, which projects itself as a platform for free expression, has faced hate speech issues in France. After a protracted legal battle, a French court forced the company to last month identify users who posted anti-Semitic tweets in October.
Photo via gayMSP/Flickr