The founder of France’s far-right political party, The National Front, is suing a hip hop dancer — who snapped an unflattering selfie of him asleep on a plane — for $77,000 worth of damages.
Dancer Brahim Zaibat took the picture of former Presidential candidate Jean Marie Le Pen after noticing the man, famous for his anti-immigrant views, sitting near him asleep on a flight.
The half-Algerian dancer, who once dated Madonna, posted the picture to Facebook and Instagram ahead of France’s December elections with the tongue-in-cheek caption: “Let’s all vote tomorrow to give them a knock-out blow. To preserve our fraternal France.”
It has been liked nearly 200,000 times and received 30,000 shares, with thousands of comments about racism and immigration in France — a hugely divisive topic given Europe’s refugee crisis and the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people in November.
However the former right-wing leader failed to see the funny side and is now claiming $77,000 worth of damages after the party he began failed to win a single seat in the second round of regional elections, despite overwhelmingly strong results in earlier votes.
Mr Le Pen, who was expelled from the party by his daughter Marine after a public rift, claimed the embarrassing stitch-up harmed his image and was “instrumental” in the party’s defeat.
Both Marine Le Pen and her niece Marion Marechal Le Pen failed to gain seats despite both receiving more than 40 per cent of the vote in the first round of elections.
Mr Zaibat is yet to make further comment on the picture.
French media reports the damages hearing will take place on January 22.