YouTube comedian Remi Gaillard's 'air sex' videos criticised for 'glorifying rape'

Comic simulates sex movements with unwitting women

Paris

A French internet comedian has been accused of “glorifying rape” after posting a video on YouTube in which he simulates sex with women in public without their knowledge.

The short film by Rémi Gaillard, which has had 4,000,000 hits, has also provoked a furious reaction from women in France and elsewhere.

Audrey Pulvar, one of the best-known French TV presenters, said on air that Mr Gaillard, 39, was a “miserable jerk”. She said that his film was “disgusting and unfunny” and exploited and justified the “constant sexual aggression” faced by women in public.

The former health minister Roselyne Bachelot went further and described Mr Gaillard’s actions as “glorifying rape”.

“The film is abject. Absolutely abject. It is rape. The word is not too strong,” she said.

Mr Gaillaird, based in Montpellier in the south of France, has made a global reputation as an internet prankster in recent years. He claims to be the 17th most popular comedian on YouTube. Most of his films involve dressing up in garish or outlandish animal costumes.

In his most recent video, called Free Sex, he makes use of the foreshortening effect of a hidden camera to make it look as if he is having sex with unwitting young women as they bend over shelves in a supermarket or sunbathe in a park. Mr Gaillard – whose name means “frisky” in French – sneaks up behind the women, and,in one instance a male policeman, and simulates sexual movements.

In a lengthy response on his Facebook page to the outrage expressed by Ms Pulvar and others, Mr Gaillaird said that all the women shown in the film had given permission for the footage to be shown.

“Please let these women have the right to freedom of thought and the right to make use of their image as they see fit,” he said. “Please respect their…freedom, their sense of humour and their joie de vivre”.

He went on to accuse other internet sites of attacking him while posting links to his video to increase their own traffic.

“Is there just one prescribed way of thinking for women? …Do some of them have the right to have a laugh?” he asked.

Mr Gaillard also claimed that the critical comments failed to mention that one of his “victims” is a male policeman. “That would undermine their accusation that this is a form of violence against women,” he said

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