Macron downs bottle of beer in 17 seconds in rugby dressing room

French president, who was cheered on by the Toulouse rugby team, was accused of ‘toxic masculinity’

Chris Stevenson
Tuesday 20 June 2023 09:22 BST
Emmanuel Macron downs bottle of beer in 17 seconds

Emmanuel Macron has been filmed downing a bottle of beer in 17 seconds during a tour of a rugby dressing room.

Footage shows Mr Macron being handed a bottle of Corona in the Toulouse changing room after the rugby union club beat La Rochelle at the Stade de France in Paris over the weekend. The president had watched the match, the French Top 14 final, from the VIP enclosure.

Being urged to down the drink in one, Mr Macron drains the bottle to cheering from the players and coaching staff, many with their phones out to capture the moment. The president then slams the empty bottle on the counter.

Emmanuel Macron downs a beer in 17 seconds at a rugby club in France

But the act was met with criticism by opposition politicians. "Toxic masculinity in political leadership in one image," tweeted Sandrine Rousseau, an MP for the Green party.

Ms Rousseau’s tweet prompted a reply from an MP within Mr Macron's own party, Jean-Rene Cazeneuve, who said: "A president who is sharing in the joy of 23 players and taking part in their traditions. That's all.”

Bernard Basset from the charity Association Addictions France told BFMTV that the "president has a responsibility as a role model in terms of setting a healthy example for behaviour".

He added: "In this case, he's associating sport, parties and the consumption of alcohol in a context of virile peer-pressure where everyone drinks a bit too much.”

Mr Macron has a knack for associating himself with France's sports teams, having given a pep talk to the members of the men's national football team in their dressing room after they lost the World Cup final to Argentina in Qatar late last year.

The beer-drinking stunt may be aimed at Mr Macron presenting himself as a man of the people. He could certainly do with a bump in the polls, with his popularity having been hit by the passage of a law increasing the retirement law earlier this year – a move that sparked mass protests across a number of cities.

The president is a staunch supporter of the French wine industry, having once claimed that he regularly drank a glass of wine and lunch and also had another in the evening. He has also previously blocked attempts by public health authorities to promote "dry January" – which sees people starting the year alcohol-free.

The Liberation newspaper sought to remind Mr Macron of some of his previous thoughts on drinking, from a visit to an agricultural fair in 2018. "There is a public health scourge which is young people binge-drinking on spirits or beer, but it's not with wine," it reported him as saying.

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