A FRENCH television presenter is under fire after mounting a bizarre skit live on air in which he ‘catfished’ unsuspecting gay men, humiliating them for the entertainment of millions of viewers.
Cyril Hanouna, host of variety show Don’t Touch My TV Set (Touche Pas A Mon Poste), had lured interested men with a fake online dating ad, posing as a bisexual, musclebound man named Jean-José who described himself as “very sporty and well endowed.”
Even the model whose photo the host used is angry.
Connections made, Hanouna then contacted the men over the phone live on his television show, engaging in explicit conversations about their sexual fantasies. The men had no idea they were being heard by a studio audience and a TV viewership of 1.7 million people.
Looking pretty proud of himself.
The segment was played for laughs as Hanouna “prowled the stage, using flamboyant gestures and a high-pitched voice while speaking to the unsuspecting men,” LGBQT Nation reports.
One hotline operator at French homophobia support line Le Reuge had spent most of the night talking to one of the men deceived by Hanouna.
“We were devastated by his tears and his fear of being found out by his parents and those around him,” BBC quotes Noguier as saying.
The victim was left in a “state of appalling distress.”
The segment was “scandalous, shameful and homophobic,” Joël Deumier said, president of SOS Homophobie, a French association for the protection of LGBT people.
“When you let people get away with behaviour like this, you trivialise homophobic discourse. The sketch was deeply homophobic and you would have to be aware of it.”
And the taut torso in Hanouna’s dating profile actually belongs to model Max Emerson, who added his voice to the chorus of condemnation after fans alerted him that his likeness was being used for the sick skit. Emerson suggested seeking damages from Hanouna, with proceeds donated to an LGBTI charity.