Cartoon court case centres on sexism and natural wines

Monday May 10 2021 by Vitisphere

This is only the first chapter in the legal battle over the cartoon – another hearing on messages received by wine merchant Sandrine Goeyvaerts is in the preparation stagesThis is only the first chapter in the legal battle over the cartoon – another hearing on messages received by wine merchant Sandrine Goeyvaerts is in the preparation stages - Photo credit : Alexandre Abellan (Vitisphere)

The cartoon featured in issue 21 of the En Magnum magazine published by Thierry Desseauve, with its buxom sales agent intimating at physical rewards in exchange for purchases by a haggard wine merchant, sparked a heated debate at the 17th correctional chamber of the Paris judicial court on 4 May. Described alternately as a gender-biased attack and as a bawdy stereotype, depending on the party involved, the drawing is being tried in court “for public insult committed against a person because of his or her sex” by wine agent Fleur Godart, who recognised herself in the cartoon.

 

The public prosecutor has claimed that the crux of the case is about “identifying Fleur Godart in the publication to characterise the offence”, and considers that the buzz it caused on social media does not categorically identify the person depicted in the cartoon. Some “posts allude to coincidences [and] theories [that are] not clear and unambiguous”.

 

The prosecution is relentlessly attacking the cartoon as being sexist. “I cannot get away from this cartoon. The most aggressive aspect is not the drawing itself, but the cowardice that characterises the refusal to recognise its sexist side and the fact that I can be perfectly identified in it”, testified Fleur Godart, who is asking for €50,000 in damages.

 

En Magnum's defence has not wavered. “I had never heard of Fleur Godart before receiving this summons. I think that, apart from a small natural wine group, which is very important in this issue and one which we have always been very reserved about, no one in the wine world has ever heard of Fleur Godart”, said Thierry Desseauve, who is asking for a conventional reclassification on the basis of misuse of civil action (with €10,000 in damages). Proponents of natural wines, who were mentioned repeatedly during the three-hour hearing, are spearheading the case for the journalist, who views this trial as a way of settling scores. The seventeenth chamber is due to deliver its verdict on Tuesday 8 June.

 

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