The manager of the Richelieu brewery in Rueil-Malmaison, France, was tried on Tuesday for "incitement to rape" after posting a "joke" about GHB being the "secret of his seduction" on a sign outside his restaurant. The prosecution found the man not guilty of the charges brought against him.
The events took place on January 24th. Around 7 o'clock in the morning, just like any other day, Antoine P. put up a board in front of his bar-brasserie, on which he had just written his "joke" of the day: "The secret of my seduction... Gentillesse, humour, bagout. (French for: Kindness, Humor, Glibness) But if that doesn't work, I just go with the first letter of each word." In other words, GHB, the date rape drug. This rather inappropriate "joke" caused the man behind it to be summoned by the court, as reported by Le Figaro.
5 years in prison and 45,000 euros in fines
But can you joke about anything or are some subjects just unsuitable for humor? That is the question the court of Nanterre sought to answer. Indeed, the owner of the Richelieu brewery, in Rueil Malmaison, was tried on Tuesday for "incitement to commit an offense" and "incitement to rape." He risked up to 5 years in prison and 45,000 euros in fines for these offenses, but was found not guilty by the prosecutor, who felt that it was "an awkward and inappropriate joke" but that "there was no intent there." The prosecutor emphasized that "humor is exculpatory when it comes to the press" and that there is no law that prohibits "off-color humor."
Passersby were shocked
A local woman who was passing by spotted the sign. Called in to in court testify as a witness, she said she was shocked upon reading the sign and those three letters: GHB. "I'm particularly sensitive about this because it happened to me," the young woman explained. "I was drugged at a party. I never got over it."
Despite testimonies from the young woman and Florence Moreno, the creator of the Chienne de Garde (French from "Watchdog") movement, who explained that "in sharing the secret of his seduction with other men," this restaurant owner is "colluding with men who endorse a macho ideology," unfortunately, the prosecutor wasn't convinced.
An incomplete case
Legally, there wasn't enough evidence to make a case, as explained by Vera Goguidze, the restaurant owner's lawyer. As for the man, he has said that he's "sorry to have caused trouble" and "is unable to sleep at night knowing that people are saying he intended to incite others to rape." For Vera Goguidze, one thing is clear: her client is not guilty. Judgment is expected on November 5th.