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Sports Journalist Goes Viral After Posting Attack on French Far-Right

Sports Journalist Goes Viral After Posting Attack on French Far-Right

A French sports journalist has gone viral after venting his anger online following the success of the far-right in Sunday’s elections.

Benjamin Bernard, an on-air reporter for beIN Sport, posted on X that there were “12 million SOBs in our country. That’s it, it had to come out.”

Bernard was referring to the voters of the far-right National Rally (RN) party and its allies, which were the winners in Sunday’s first round of voting for France‘s parliament, with 33 percent of the popular vote. The leftwing New Popular Front (NFP) alliance came in second with 28 percent, while French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist Together coalition reached 20 percent, according to official tallies. The result marks the first time the RN, headed by far-right populist Marine Le Pen, has won more than 20 percent of the vote in a parliamentary election. Macron called the snap vote after last month’s European elections, which saw the RN surge in popularity.

The final results are still far from certain and the exact makeup of France’s parliament will be determined by the second round of run-off voting on July 7. In the past, the traditional right and leftwing parties have struck agreements for their candidates to stand down from the runoffs to avoid splitting the vote against the National Rally and create a unified “republican front”.

Bernard, who reports on U.S. sports for beIN, was far from the only public figure to comment on the results. Alexis Brézet, editorial director of French daily Le Figaro called the results “a French tragedy,” putting the blame squarely on Macron for throwing the country into turmoil. Whatever the outcome on Sunday’s second round, wrote Brézet, the result will be a “regime crisis. Thank you, Macron!” His counterpart at La Montagne, Stéphane Vergeade, noted that Macron “lost his bet” in calling the surprise election, while Dov Alfon, at Libération, said the French public hold Marcon “responsible for this chaos.”

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But the sport reporter’s bluntness drew an immediate response, and a wave of criticism from far-right supporters. Bernard eventually deleted the post but later tweeted he did so only so as not to implicate his employer in what was a personal outburst. “My opinion, my opinions are my own,” he wrote. “But the tweet that caused so much reaction was also lowering me to their level. Hate stirs up hate.” He did not apologize for original statement, noting that “France is the country of human rights and must remain so. My heart bleeds, that’s it.”

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