French journalist violently ejected by security guards after attempting to ask probing question of Marine Le Pen
Freddy Mayhew, Press Gazette, Feb 2 2017
A French journalist has been forcibly removed from an event in Paris after attempting to ask National Front leader Marine Le Pen a probing question over claims she misused European Parliament funds to pay her bodyguard’s salary.
Paul Larrouturou, a journalist for daily current affairs show Quotidien which is broadcast on the TMC channel (part of prominent media group TF1), was filmed being ejected from the Palais des Congrès yesterday by two security guards who pushed him out the door. Before his violent removal, Larrouturou could be seen in the media scrum around right-wing presidential candidate Le Pen. After saying hello, he asked her:
Was your bodyguard really your parliamentary assistant, or …
He was seemingly grabbed from behind before finishing the question. After he was thrown out, Larrouturou returned and confronted the two men with his cameraman still filming, with his press accreditation in his hand, declaiming:
I am accredited here! You cannot stop me asking a question of Madame Le Pen! I want an immediate apology!
The two men then pushed him out the door a second time. As they retured, someone presumed to be Larrouturou called out an insult, which incited further acts of aggression against the journalist and his cameraman. The National Front told Le Parisien:
It’s not us! There were no instructions! We don’t run the Palais!
The men who removed the journalist are understood to have been working for the organisers of the event, the ‘Salon Des Entrepreneurs’ which puts on business exhibitions across France’s biggest cities. In a statement they said:
There was a surge in the crowd … He pushed, and we asked him to leave. There was a risk.
The Parisien claims that it is publicly known that the National Front in France consistently refuses to accredit journalists from Quotidien. In a video of the incident posted by the official Quotidien Twitter handle a spox for the programme said:
We simply wished to know if Marine Le Pen’s bodyguard had a fictitious role at the European Parliament or not.