An investigation for the dissemination of child pornography images was opened this week in Nanterre against the comic book author Bastien Vivès and two of his publishing houses. A complaint was filed at the end of December by the Foundation for Children, a child protection association, with the Nanterre prosecutor’s office.
This preliminary investigation, entrusted to the Brigade for the protection of minors, targets the 38-year-old author, figure of the 9th art, as well as the publishing houses Glénat and Les Requins Marteaux which published three of his works in 2011 and 2018. Contacted, Glénat editions could not be reached immediately.
The complaint from the Children’s Foundation, elements of which were revealed by France Info, targets three books: The melons of anger (Hammerhead Sharks, 2011), The Mental Dump (Hammerhead Sharks, 2018) and Little Paul, (Glénat, 2018). These comics “deliver representations of minors, in sexually explicit situations, undoubtedly presenting a pornographic character”, according to the complaint.
Another complaint filed
In Melons of Wrath, “Bastien Vivès stages Magalie, a young underage girl who suffers repeated sexual assault and rape”, describes The Foundation for Children, quoted by France Info. “Incestuous relations are also staged between Magalie and her brother, Petit Paul”, whose “lack of consent” is “presented as obvious”, continues the association.
Another association, Innocence in danger, also filed a complaint with the Paris prosecutor’s office at the end of December, considering that these three comics were part of the dissemination of child pornography images but also of incitement to the commission of sexual assaults on minors and the dissemination to a minor of violent messages. At this stage, the complaint in Paris has not been joined to the investigations in Nanterre. However, the lawyer for Innocence in danger, Delphine Girard, welcomed the opening of the investigation in Nanterre, hoping that “effective prosecutions and that the rights of children will be respected” will follow.
In the tournament
These complaints have reignited the controversy around the works of Bastien Vivès, presented by his readers as simple gritty tales or parodies. Like the Melons of Angera vague parody of Grapes of Wrath where a peasant teenager is raped by several men from her village.
Already in 2018, after the publication of Little Paul, which depicts a child with a disproportionate penis having sexual relations with adult women, the Glénat editions had affirmed that “as obscene and provocative as it may be considered, this work of fiction is never intended to play down , promote or legitimize the abuse of minors in any way whatsoever”. A report, sent at the time by the association Face à l’inceste, requesting the withdrawal of this comic strip had been dismissed by the Nanterre prosecutor’s office for “absence of offense” in February 2019.
Last December, an online petition demanding the deprogramming of the exhibition In the eyes of Bastien Vives, scheduled for the Angoulême festival at the end of January, collected 92,000 signatures. The festival management announced the cancellation of the exhibition, citing “threats” against the author and the organizers.
Bastien Vivès, he apologized in December, assuring on Instagram that he “at no time wanted to hurt victims of crimes and sexual abuse” and “condemned pedocrime, as well as its apology and its trivialization”.