France has been transfixed, amused and finally disturbed by a Twitter war between teenagers with famous parents - Louis Sarkozy, aged 16, and Leonard Triérweiler, 15.
Media commentators called on “grown-ups” to intervene today after Louis Sarkozy, son of the ex-President, challenged Leonard Triérweiler, son of the ex-First Lady to a fight. They also suggested that Nicolas Sarkozy should be deeply embarrassed by his son’s spelling.
The two boys began to exchange insulting tweets earlier this month, on subjects ranging from the World Cup to the criminal investigations targeting the former President. They resumed the insults this week after it was revealed that Valérie Trierweiler's brief reign as President François Hollande’s unmarried First Lady cost French tax-payers €480,000 last year.
Louis Sarkozy also revived an old media allegation that one of Ms Triérweiler’s sons had been caught buying cannabis last year and that the incident had been hushed up.
Another member of the French twitterati intervened to suggest that the boys should settle their quarrel like men. Louis Sarkozy (@Sarko_Junior), who attends a military school in the United States, took up the idea enthusiastically.
“Whenever you want!” he tweeted to @trierweiler3. “We soldiers learn how to fight.”
Throughout the exchange, Sarko Junior’s spelling has been woeful. In one tweet he spelled “toujours” (always) without an s. In another he spelled the word “chez” as “cher”. Leonard Triérweiler has displayed more humour and better spelling but he made a factual mistake this week which Louis pounced on enthusiastically.
After a brief truce, the tweet war between the two boys had resumed when it was revealed that Valerie Triérweiler’s brief reign as First Lady cost the French state €480,000 last year (almost entirely for staff and security). Leonard Triérweiler tweeted: “Fine. But at least my mother didn’t have an Elysée credit card for her personal shopping.”
Louis retorted: “That’s good. Mine neither.” Leonard had evidently forgotten that Louis is not the son of Mr Sarkozy’s third wife, Carla Brun-Sarkozy. His mother is the former President’s second wife, Cécilia Attias.
The website of the centre-left news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur was not alone in suggesting today – partly tongue in cheek - that the “parents” should step in.
“Neither Louis Sarkozy nor Leonard Triérweiler have any right to get involved in such complex political questions”, it said. “Nicolas Sarkozy should send his son on a crash course in spelling. Arguing in spelling mistakes does nothing for his credibility.”