French first lady Brigitte Macron is set to take legal action against those spreading conspiracy theories on the internet claiming that she is a transgender woman.
According to the reports, some French media outlets have been rigorously publishing false claims about Brigitte being born a man and named Jean-Michel Trogneux. Thousand of tweets mentioned this name making a mockery of the first lady and the 25-year-age gap with her husband, Emmanuel Macron, the President of France.
Rumors about Brigitte Macron go Viral on Social Media.
The ridiculous conspiracy theory about Brigitte Macron has been circulating on French social media with the hashtag #JeanMichelTrogneux. Brigitte’s maiden name is Trogneux.
Reportedly, it all started when a right-wing journal named ‘Faits et Documents’ published an article in September. It said that they have carried out an “investigation” on Brigitte for 3 years and many “experts” support their theory. However, the public failed to describe on what basis they carried out the said investigation. Then on December 10, the writer of the article Natacha Rey appeared in an interview uploaded as a 23-minute YouTube video detailing her “investigation”. However, that video was reportedly deleted after 4 hours when it already received more than 450,000 views.
Then after 3 days, the hashtag #JeanMichelTrogneux started trending on French Twitter. According to reports, it received more than 65,000 mentions on Twitter. It was also being debated extensively, resulting in many people believing the outlandish rumor.
Politics as Usual
French media widely recognized the theory about Brigitte Macron as right-wing propaganda. It found that most of the audience who viralized the article and YouTube video were an assortment of anti-vaxxers, covid-skeptics, far-right activists, and QAnon conspiracy believers. The writer of the article Natacha Rey has also been posting sexually derogatory comments against the first lady since 2018.
Critics regarded the theory as merely a smear campaign against Emmanual Macron ahead of the 2022 President Election in France. It is not confirmed whether Macron will run for a second term but it is widely expected in the country. If he decides to run then he would face competition from the right-wing Valérie Pécresse (Republicans Party), and Eric Zemmour, a TV personality hoping to represent the far-right.
It is not the first time Brigitte Macron has been targeted by the rivals of the French President. It started ever since Emmanuel Macron became the youngest President in French history at the age of 39 in March 2017. It is also not the first time a high-profile woman is targeted with similar rumors. Women in politics tend to face the kind of disgrace, which their male counterparts do not.
False claims about former US First Lady Michelle Obama being transgender also went viral when her husband Barrack Obama was US President. They claimed that her name was Michael Lavaughn Robinson. The rabid conspiracy theorist Alex Jones also remarked in 2017 that Michelle’s photos looked like she had a very large penis inside her pants.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was also targeted with false accusations of hiding her sexual identity as a transgender.