French media outlets slammed far-right presidential contender Eric Zemmour on Wednesday with some threatening legal action for his unauthorized use of logos and images in a video announcing his candidacy.
Zemmour utilized a wide array of imagery and logos from prominent news channels, including BFM TV, France24, and their sister channel Radio France International (RFI) in a YouTube video published Tuesday, without first obtaining permission.
“France24 demands the immediate withdrawal of these images … and if our demands are not met, we will examine our legal options,” the station said in a statement.
Zemmour’s team quickly rushed to defend the decision with National Events Director Olivier Ubeda saying in a statement to BFM TV: “The clip was scrutinized by our legal team. 95% of the images are ours or in the public domain … most of the images are perfectly usable.”
The video interlaces a constant barrage of images with Zemmour sitting at a desk in a hushed, dark library setting, reading from pages in front of him.
Zemmour’s team also utilized imagery from the television station for the Senate, Public Senat. The channel’s spokesperson said there were “five seconds of images with its logo which was not its property because it belonged to President Emmanuel Macron’s political party, La Republique En Marche.”
The elections will be held in April and Zemmour, who will run as an independent, faces stiff competition from incumbent President Emmanuel Macron but is said to be posing a stiff challenge to far-right competitor Marine Le Pen.
The independent candidate is a highly controversial figure in France. A Jew of Algerian descent, he is widely known for his inflammatory and often bigoted remarks and has been convicted twice in French courts for racist statements, once in 2011 and a second time in 2018.
The 2018 case is pending review before the European Court of Human Rights. Since 2008, he has been acquitted six times of other charges.
He claims that "France is under threat from Islam," arguing that its principles are not compatible with those of the Republic. Zemmour also openly promotes Replacement Theory, a far-right thought that white people will soon be replaced by non-white and non-European immigrants.
Before his interest in political office, the presidential contender made his career as a political journalist, with stints at Le Quotidien de Paris, Le Figaro, and RTL, and as an author.