It appears that an powerful group of male journalists in France, known online in a group cornily dubbed the “Laughing Out Loud League,” have been casually promoting the harassment of their women peers.
RFI (Radio France Internationale) reports that the group was a private Facebook group started in 2009 by the Libération writer Vincent Glad. The “Ligue du Lol” sort of sounds like the “Binders” groups that American women have created for writing and other fields, except this is for influential douchebags. “The original idea was for this group of young males-on-the-make in the world of Paris media to share private jokes, sometimes about their female colleagues,” RFI reports.
After Libération published a story looking back on the group and exposing its harassment nearly ten years after its creation, women who were targeted by the group are speaking up about their experiences. Several female journalists, which include writers like Nora Bouazzouni, Slate.fr reporter Lucile Bellan, and podcaster Mélanie Wanga, told RFI that the harassment stemming from this group has driven them off Twitter, claiming instances of identity pirating, inappropriate Photoshop jobs, and making their lives “hell.”
The French, LGBTQ magazine Tetu also noted that the group’s members reportedly made homophobic remarks in addition to their misogyny, citing a Medium post from the writer Matthias Jambon-Puillet, publishing under the name Benjamin LeReilly, in which he describes the dissemination of a photo of him photoshopped with explicit images.
Some members of the group, like podcaster Henry Michel, defensively claim that the group made fun of everyone, not specifically women. But since victims of the group have brought forward their stories of the LOL League, creator Vincent Glad and other Libération writers in the group were laid off from their positions on Monday, and lay offs and resignations of members in the group are currently unfolding, France Info reports.
Correction: A previous version of this post misidentified writer of the Medium post. His name is Matthias Jambon-Puillet, publishing under the name Benjamin LeReilly. This post has also been edited to clarify photos of LeReilly were photoshopped. Jezebel regrets the error.