Miss France runner-up bombarded with anti-Semitic abuse

Miss France runner-up is bombarded with anti-Semitic abuse after revealing her father is Israeli

  • April Benayoum, 21, competed in Miss France 2021 on Saturday, finishing second
  • The current holder of Miss Provence revealed her father is of Israeli origin
  • This prompted a torrent of horrific social media abuse directed at Ms Benayoum
  • Prosecutors have opened an investigation amid surge in anti-Semitism in France

The new runner-up of Miss France has been bombarded with a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse on social media, prompting an investigation. 

April Benayoum, 21, who holds the title of Miss Provence and competed for the national crown on Saturday, was the subject of hate messages after she said at the event that her father is of Israeli origin.

The insults, one of which read ‘Hitler forgot about this one’ and another saying ‘Don’t vote for a Jew,’ drew instant condemnation from politicians and associations.

April Benayoum, the newest runner-up of Miss France, has been bombarded with a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse on social media

The 21-year-old (pictured bottom centre right) holds the title of Miss Provence and competed for the national crown on Saturday

‘I am deeply shocked by the flood of anti-Semitic insults against Miss Provence’, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. 

He added: ‘We will not let this stand. Shame on the authors.’

Paris prosecutors said on Monday that they were investigating the messages for ‘racist insults’ and ‘instigation of race hatred’.

The Miss France contest ‘is not an anti-Semitic competition,’ said his deputy, Marlene Schiappa.

She became the subject of hate messages after she said at the event that her father is of Israeli origin

Paris prosecutors said on Monday that they were investigating the messages for ‘racist insults’ and ‘instigation of race hatred’

Miss Provence competes on stage during the Miss France 2021 beauty contest at the Puy-du-Fou, in Les Epesses, western France

The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) said the messages had turned Twitter ‘into an anti-Semitic cesspool’ and called on internet users to report the offending content with a view to launching a class action suit.

The contest organisers also condemned the attacks, as did the competition’s winner, Amandine Petit from Normandy in northwestern France, who called the social media messages ‘inappropriate’ and ‘extremely disappointing.’

Benayoum herself deplored ‘that this kind of thing still goes on in 2020,’ telling La Provence newspaper that ‘France is a cosmopolitan country, the Miss contestants come from different backgrounds, different cultures, different regions, and that’s what’s great about this competition.’

The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra) said the messages had turned Twitter ‘into an anti-Semitic cesspool’

The contest organisers also condemned the attacks against Miss Benayoum (centre) as did the competition’s winner, Amandine Petit from Normandy (left)

France, which has the biggest Jewish population in Europe, has seen an increase in anti-Semitic vandalism and hate speech

Benayoum herself deplored ‘that this kind of thing still goes on in 2020,’ and said the competition celebrates diversity

EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said Twitter and other social media platforms would have to move quicker to remove hate speech under a new Digital Services Act proposed for the bloc this month.

‘What we’re proposing is to confirm that platforms give themselves the means to respond instantly to demands from the authorities when offences like this occur,’ Breton told BFM television on Sunday in response to the Miss France messages late Sunday.

France, which has the biggest Jewish population in Europe, has seen an increase in anti-Semitic vandalism and hate speech that President Emmanuel Macron has called ‘unacceptable.’

In 2018, the number of anti-Jewish offences reported to police surged by 74 per cent after two years of declines, according to the interior ministry.

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