Facebook Is Fighting in a French Court Over a Painting of a Vagina

A French court has informed Facebook that they certain DO have the jurisdiction to rule in a freedom of expression case brought against the site for nuking a man's account over a very well-known and artistically significant painting of a vagina.

So, here's the deal: A French teacher posted an image of l'Origine du Monde, a famous nineteenth-century painting of a vagina, on Facebook. Facebook suspended the man's account, because what you see as an important work of art, Facebook sees as just another vagina. The man sued, the Telegraph reports, on the grounds that his freedom of expression had been violated. "I felt like they were indirectly treating me like a pornographer whereas this is a French painting hanging in a museum. It annoys me to be censored," he informed a French TV station.


The AFP (via the Verge) reports that Facebook's lawyers responded by saying that as per Facebook's terms of service, the trial would have to take place in California. But a French court has ruled that the clause is in fact "abusive" and they'll try this case in France if they damn well please. The man's lawyer told Figaro, via the Verge:

Immediately following the ruling, the plaintiff's lawyer described it as a "first victory won by David against Goliath."

"This decision will create jurisprudence for other social media and other internet giants who use their being headquartered abroad, mainly in the United States, to attempt to evade French law," Stephane Cottineau, the teacher's lawyer, said following the decision. The teacher is seeking €20,000 ($21,900) in damages, according to French daily Le Figaro.


So mark your calendars for May, when this whole things goes to trial. It promises hours of French Facebook vagina fun.

Photo via Getty.

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