French gossip magazine condemned in court for “stolen” photos of French president and actress Julie Gayet
The gossip magazine “Closer” was ordered by a French court today to pay €15,000 to César-nominated actress Julie Gayet for having published stolen photos of Ms Gayet and the President of the French Republic that suggested a liaison between the two.
The Tribunal de Grande Instance (equivalent of an Irish district court) in Nanterre handed down the sentence that was lighter than expected but which found Ms Gayet to be on the right side of the law in this case. The actress was seeking damages and interest of €50,000, as well as €4,000 in legal fees.
The publisher had published a series of photos in January that caused a worldwide sensation and that revealed a romantic liaison between Hollande and Gayet but the court hearing today found that the publication of the photos constituted an attack on the personal life of Ms Gayet. This comes following an earlier case against Closer, condemning it to pay damages and interest to President Hollande’s former partner Valérie Trierweiler for photos it published of Ms Trierweiler in a swimsuit on holidays in Mauritius.
The magazine published photos on the 10th of January last – described by the court as “stolen” – of the French head of state and of Julie Gayet, who were photographed separately before a building in Paris on the Rue du Cirque about 100m from the Elysée.
“An actual stalking was organised with regard to my client,” said Ms Gayet’s lawyer Jean Ennochi in court. He went on to describe the aftermath of the appearance of the photos: “She was beset by a swarm of photographers… it was like a pack of hounds attacking a game bird.”
For their part, Closer claimed that the article and accompanying photos were published in the name of public interest, invoking the right of information. The article, their lawyer Ms Delphine Pando said, clearly asks questions of the “security of the President” and of a “duty of transparency” with regard to the French people.
Since the magazine revelations, Julie Gayet has not commented publicly on the affair, selecting instead to attack through the courts. In addition to today’s case, she lodge another complaint against the same magazine for a second series of photos it published showing her at the wheel of her car.