The Troll of the Month is an episode we choose every month to expose anti-Semites and to show the positive outcomes in the fight against antisemitism in Europe.
Two employees of SFR, one of the main French telecommunications companies, have been suspended after making antisemitic and sexist insults against customers on Periscope. On the 31st of May 2016, two men working at the SFR shop in Antony, in the southern suburbs of Paris, made a video on the live video streaming app Periscope. They uploaded it in a channel named “Petit Poney” in reference to the French comedian Dieudonné’ s shows. First, one of the two employees referred to a customer as a “Jewish bastard” to the hilarity of the “cameraman”, another SFR employee. They then criticised a woman passing on the street saying she was “mid-hooker, half-subject” in reference to the French feminist movement Ni Putes Ni Soumises (“Neither whores nor submissive”).
With a tweet, Licra quickly brought the video to the attention of SFR. The company replied distancing itself from the behavior of the two employees and publicly informing Licra that the two employees were suspended. “Hi! SFR rejects those remarks. The perpetrators were identified and laid off”, said the company. The video has since been removed from Periscope but is still visible on Dailymotion.
It was not the first time that a Periscope video caused controversy. In February, the Paris St Germain football player Serge Aurier was filmed making homophobic insults against his coach Laurent Blanc and other PSG players. In March, another two SFR employees were also broadcast on Periscope setting fire to the laptop of a customer. A month ago, in the city of Bordeaux, a man on the street was filmed being physically attacked. The perpetrators, two teenagers planned the aggression with the intention of live stream it on Periscope.
Periscope, launched by Twitter in 2015, has become very popular in France. On the crossline between YouTube and Twitter, it allows its users to live broadcast and live watch videos worldwide, as well as replay the live streams on the web for up to 24 hours after the broadcast. Live-streaming videos have become the latest bastion of bullying and harassment on the internet. In June, Periscope has introduced a new method of reporting report abuse and spam in the comments section of a broadcast. With the new tool, people watching the broadcast can flag offensive comments, then a small group of randomly selected live viewers will vote on whether they agree. If the majority decides that the comment is abuse or spam, the perpetrator will be temporarily suspended from chat.