Described as “cheeky,” a photo of a man using the French flag as bathroom tissue has authorities panties in a bunch and wiping their brows to find a way of punishing or sanctioning the photo artist.
The photo in question by Frederic Laurent, 25, of Nice, is a rear shot of a young man with his pants down around his calves, and wiping his buns with a French flag that is hanging from a pole attached to the exterior wall of a building.
Laurent entered the photo in the “Politically Incorrect” category of a contest sponsored by FNAC, a major cultural and entertainment chain of stores in France.
Considered an affront to the Tricolor, the matter was taken up by:
The local parliamentary representative and president of the Alps-Maritime region Eric Ciotti decided that enough was enough before referring the issue to no less a personality than Michèle Alliot-Marie, the current Justice Minister.
Ciotti’s referral to the Ministry was accompanied by a stern demand that:
“The person who committed this outrage as well as those who published it be sanctioned if possible.”
Alliot-Marie, who takes art and this matter most seriously said:
“Penal action be engaged against this inadmissible act.”
In agreement was a ministry spokesman who said:
“If existing law turns out to be ineffective concerning this issue, we should change it.”
Officials in the Ministry said they are contemplating ways to sanction Laurent, but there is “little possibility of bringing the perpetrators of the crime to justice.”
France has stiff penaities in the form of fines and jail time for desecration of its flag, but the circumstance of that desecration are very exact and this does not fit, officials said.
Under French law, the tarnishing of the flag must take place during an event organized by public authorities.