Louis Boyard versus Cyril Hanouna in TPMP

TPMP stands for “Do not touch My TV”. This is a program created and hosted by Cyril Hanouna and broadcast live on the C8 channel belonging to the Canal+ group, itself owned by Vincent Bolloré’s group.

The facts: a nine-minute clash with insults towards an MP

Louis Boyard, LFI-NUPES deputy for Val-de-Marne, was invited to the set on November 10, 2022 to discuss the question of the reception of migrants from the humanitarian ship ocean viking. On this occasion, Louis Boyard underlined the fact that in France, five people own as much as 25 million people and notably pointed the finger at Vincent Bolloré, adding that the latter was being sued by a collective of 150 Cameroonians because of deforestation. which would be at the origin of the migration crisis.

In reaction, Cyril Hanouna tried to silence Louis Boyard, reminding him that he was in the Canal group owned by the said Vincent Bolloré. Faced with the persistent deputy, the presenter launched into a controversy of almost nine minutes, during which he became insulting, notably making the following comments: “What the fuck did you do here?” ; “I don’t give a damn that you’re an MP” ; “Such a moron” ; “as soon as you speak (to the National Assembly) they shut your mouth” ; “you are a shit” ; “goof, go” ; “jester, go” ; “you are a jerk”. Cyril Hanouna added that he did not understand why the deputy had come to the set of the show when he could have simply boycotted it. In a tense atmosphere, the host leading the public and the other columnists to follow suit and showing himself vehement even threatening, Louis Boyard ended up leaving the set without having conveyed his message about Vincent Bolloré.

Censorship or no censorship?

L’program was broadcast live, no editing could take place. Cyril Hanouna wanted to cover the MP’s references to his boss with his own invective, and this in particular by reminding Louis Boyard that he had been a columnist within C8, as if to make him lose all credibility. In a move that could be perceived as intimidation, the host physically approached the deputy and scolded him: “I don’t spit in the hand that feeds me”.

Thus, during a lively exchange of almost nine minutes, a form censorship of information, in particular information relating to the actions of Vincent Bolloré, that the deputy intended to convey. This also led Louis Boyard to ask the National Assembly to open a commission of inquiry in order to “to measure the interference of Vincent Bolloré on the media he owns”with the particular objective of auditioning Vincent Bolloré and Cyril Hanouna.

The law of September 30, 1986 provides that “Communication to the public by electronic means is free.e”, and that “the exercise of this freedom may only be limited to the extent required (…) by respect for the dignity of the human person, for the freedom and property of others, for the pluralistic character of the expression of currents of thought and opinion”. The question is therefore: did Cyril Hanouna infringe this text by literally stifling the words of Louis Boyard under his invectives and those of the public?

This same law provides that the Regulatory Authority for Audiovisual and Digital Communication (ARCOM, formerly the Superior Audiovisual Council) monitors respect for honesty, independence and pluralism information and programmes, a requirement taken up in the agreements made between this authority and each channel. In addition, ARCOM must ensure “that the economic interests of the shareholders of publishers of audiovisual communication services and their advertisers do not infringe these principles”. However, in this case, censorship seems to have taken place through excessive and intimidation against the deputy, which led the president of the LFI group in the National Assembly Mathilde Panot to send a letter to the president of ARCOM.

It should be added that if the host has an editorial responsibility for the content of his program, he also has an obligation to control his antenna in accordance with the agreement signed between the CSA and C8 (article 2-2-1). Is outrageous and intimidating character a breach of this convention?

Dishonest information or honest entertainment?

The sequence in question was taken up virally on social networks, in particular Twitter where there is a certain relentlessness against Cyril Hanouna ( #HanounaGrosCon, #BoycottTPMP). It is not so much the insults uttered as the relationship between a television host and his boss that are the subject of criticism. The Superior council of audio-visual (become ARCOM meanwhile) had already recalled in April 2018 that “the publisher of an audiovisual communication service must ensure the honesty of the information and the programs which contribute to it. It takes care to avoid any confusion between information and entertainment”.

TPMP passes for an entertainment program, appealing to columnists and not journalists. If this is the case, it is not required to respect the honesty of the information. But this argument is debatable insofar as the program can also be perceived as a news program, given the subjects it covers: it deals with current affairs, and involves public and political figures, in especially during elections. It is also broadcast at news program times. ARCOM, which in this regard has been seized and decided to open a sanction procedure, will therefore have the task of deciding concretely the question of whether TPMP is an entertainment or information program. If ARCOM decides that it is an information broadcast, then there is a breach of the obligations of honesty, independence and pluralism. There would then be a good chance that the authority would sanction the channel. Article 4-2-2 of the agreement between ARCOM and C8 provides for several types of sanctions to this effect, in particular financial sanctions, or even the suspension of a month at most from the channel itself, of a category programs, or one or more advertising sequences. The escapades of TPMP have already earned C8 to be condemned on several occasions, and in particular to a record fine of 3 million euros in the case of the homophobic hoax. Thus, the probability of a sanction imposed by the authority appears serious.

Two legal issues are in question: first, without appearing to do so, Cyril Hanouna did not let the deputy speak, which would be an attack on freedom of expression. Then, can we criticize a boss on his own television channel, which Cyril Hanouna considered “blowout” premeditated? By implying that the MP could have gone to another channel to make his statements, did the host violate the principles of independence and pluralism of information in television services?

Louis Boyard’s complaint for contempt

The Penal Code punishes with a fine of 7,500 euros “words, gestures or threats, writings or images of any kind (…) addressed to a person charged with a public service mission, in the exercise or on the occasion of the exercise of his mission, and of to undermine her dignity or the respect due to the office with which she is invested (…).”. One of the sanctions may consist of being sentenced to work of general interest. In addition, it should be noted that Louis Boyard is a civil party, he may therefore claim any damages if the judge so decides.

As part of a partnership with the Master 2 in Electronic Media Law from the University of Aix-MarseilleThe Highlighters offer you a selection of articles between November 2022 and January 2023. More articles can be viewed on the website of Institute for Research and Studies in Information and Culture Law (IREDIC)

An error in this content? Do you want to submit information for verification? Let us know using our online form. Find our correction and information submission policy on the Our method page.

Louis Boyard versus Cyril Hanouna in TPMP – The Highlighters