PARIS (AP) — A former French lawmaker’s defamation lawsuit against six women who accused him of sexual misconduct and four journalists who reported the allegations is going to trial in what some fear illustrates a backlash against the #MeToo movement.
In May 2016, investigative news website Mediapart and radio station France Inter published and broadcast accounts from 14 women who alleged Denis Baupin had groped, sexted and otherwise harassed them.
The prominent Green Party member resigned as vice president of the lower house of parliament when the reports came out. He denied wrongdoing and sued the journalists, six of the accusers and two men who said they witnessed some of the alleged misbehavior.
The trial opens Monday in Paris. In France, defamation is punishable by a maximum fine of 45,000 euros ($51,500).