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French festival sues over ‘gutter punk’ comments

A French electronic music festival is suing two local politicians for defamation over derogatory remarks the pair allegedly posted on social media.

Les Dentelles Électroniques – which takes place on Sunday 7 August, with German techno DJ Thomas Schumacher headlining – is taking legal action against Corentin Triplet and Jocelyne Cieslak, both municipal councillors in Brebières in northern France, who are accused of writing libellous posts about the festival on Twitter and Facebook, respectively.

According to Les Dentelles Électroniques, Triplet posted on Twitter on 17 July to say he was “surprised” to see Brebières “associated with an event for punks à chiens”, the French term for gutter punks (literally “dog punks”), a subsection of the punk world characterised by homelessness, vagrancy and, sometimes, voluntary unemployment and antisocial behaviour.

“By this tweet, Mr Triplet clearly despises the organisers of Les Dentelles Électroniques, as well as its festivalgoers and all the members of the electronic music ecosystem, associating them with ‘gutter punks’,” reads a statement from the festival. “However, the festival is very far from the image to which Mr Triplet refers. Indeed, everyone involved with this event maintains very good relations with the security forces [and] municipal police […] in order to guarantee the best possible conditions for its operation.”

“Fhe festival is very far from the image to which Mr Triplet refers”

Cieslak, meanwhile, is accused of making, on 21 July, a public post on her Facebook account where she appears to “question the the charitable nature” of the 1,500-person festival, “undermining the honour” of the festival’s organiser, the foundation CGDPC (Chti G Découverte Passion et Culturelle).

“The festival organisers find it unfortunate to want to harm such an event in the current health context [the pandemic] and the resulting difficulties,” reads a statement from CGDPC.

“In light of the above, the festival organisers decided to file a complaint on Thursday 22 July 2021 against the two authors of these publications” under the Press Freedom Act of 29 July 1881, it adds.

The festival is supported in its lawsuit by electronic industry association Technopol, which says it stands with the “organisers and festivalgoers implicated by these illicit comments and assures them of its full confidence”.


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