French Gay Rights Group Takes on Twitter Over Anti-Gay Hashtag
Last weekend, one of the trending topics on Twitter in France was an anti-gay hashtag, which caused an LGBT rights group to file a lawsuit against the popular social media platform, the United Press International reports.
Officials from the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, or IDAHO, said they plan to sue Twitter after users used the hashtag "#LesGaysDoiventDisparaitreCar," or "Gays Must Disappear/Die Because." The group said on Monday they will file a complaint against Twitter for the propagation of anti-gay hate speech.
IDAHO officials spoke with Le Huffington Post (HuffPo's French outlet) and confirmed that the complaint will demand all of the anti-gay tweets with the hashtag be removed. The group also said the complaint was filed against Twitter in France and in California on Tuesday and that there were nearly 10,000 tweets with the hashtag. About 900 of those tweets specifically mentioned the murder of gay people.
"This is a completely blatant call for the death and murder of gay people. It is totally unacceptable," Alexandre Marcel, a member of IDAHO, told the French website The Local. "Could you imagine being a 17 or 18-year-old gay person logging on to Twitter ... and seeing messages that call for you to be killed?"
"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," Marcel told UPI. "Twitter hasn't deleted a single homophobic tweet, nor removed a single homophobic hashtag from its list of most popular trending terms."
UPI reports that there were two other hashtags being used: "#TeamHomophobes" and "LetsBurnGayPeople."
HuffPo also reports that this isn't the first time anti-gay hashtags have trended on Twitter in France. Shortly after the country legalized same-sex marriage in April, the hashtags, "#MortAuxGay" ("Death To Gays") became a widely used term.
Twitter officials have yet to respond to the controversy.