Journalist winds up in jail for insulting fellow writer

Journalist winds up in jail for insulting fellow writer

How many days in jail and how large a fine should somebody pay for calling a colleague a “fat lesbian?”

In Switzerland, the answer is 60 days and several thousand francs.


Speaking as a plus-size gentleman, I admit that getting called “fat” isn’t pleasant, but I am pretty sure that it shouldn’t be a criminal offense to do so. Even were I king of the world it wouldn’t occur to me to jail somebody for stating a fact, or in this case two of them. The journalist at the receiving end of the insult is, after all, a fat lesbian.

A few years ago it would have been shocking to hear that a person could wind up in jail for insulting somebody, at least in a Western country. That is the sort of thing that happened in East Germany or happens today in totalitarian China.

Now it is just another day in the West. Countries around the world–countries that style themselves free and democratic–are cracking down on speech that offends the powers that be.

GENEVA — LGBTQ groups hailed the 60-day jail sentence a court in Switzerland gave to a writer and commentator for deriding a journalist as a “fat lesbian,” among other critical remarks.

The Lausanne court sentenced French-Swiss polemicist Alain Bonnet, who goes by Alain Soral, for the crimes of defamation, discrimination and incitement to hatred on Monday. He was ordered to pay legal fees and fines totaling thousands of Swiss francs (dollars) in addition to the time behind bars.

Soral lashed out at Catherine Macherel, a journalist for Swiss newspapers Tribune de Geneve and 24 Heures, in a Facebook video two years ago. He called her a “fat lesbian” and said Macherel’s work as a “queer activist” meant she was “unhinged,” according to Swiss public broadcaster RTS.

“This court decision is an important moment for justice and rights of LGBTQI people in Switzerland,” Murial Waeger, co-director of the lesbian activist group LOS, said in a statement. “The conviction of Alain Soral is a strong signal that homophobic hatred cannot be tolerated in our society.”


The European Union has passed a law that will require social media companies to suppress “harmful” speech, with fines up to 6% of the revenues of those companies.

“Harm,” of course, is a particularly slippery term. It means whatever the people in power say it means. Which of course is the point.

For instance, calling somebody a “fascist” or a “Nazi” is perfectly OK, as long as the insult is directed at the “right” sort of people. Even calling for the death of somebody is A-OK, as long as she is also a “TERF,” like J.K. Rowling.

It isn’t the “what” that is said, it is the “who” to whom it is directed. Not that banning any form of speech aside from incitement to violence is acceptable, of course.

In Great Britain an autistic girl was hauled off to jail for suggesting that a police officer looked like a lesbian–her grandmother was a lesbian with similarly cropped hair–by 8 police officers. Speech crimes are a staple of British policing these days.


It is a movement sweeping the world. Shutting people up. Punishing people for saying the wrong thing. Firing doctors for questioning the Narrative™.

Here in the United States, the federal government is fighting all the way to the Supreme Court to assert its right to censor people for “harmful” speech. Even true speech can be harmful. Letting people know that the COVID vaccine may be unsafe was harmful. Saying out loud that masks do nothing to protect the wearer or those surrounding him is harmful. Sharing the truth about Hunter Biden is harmful.

This is, of course, insane. At least if you want to live in a free country. Or even a country that is anything short of tyranny.

Dropping truth bombs or insults shouldn’t be a crime. Saying false things shouldn’t be a crime. Being wrong shouldn’t be a crime. And being inconveniently right shouldn’t be a crime.

That’s not how our “betters” see it. They need us to be compliant and need a Stasi to make that happen. And a Stasi they will build.

We here at Hot Air are doing our part to fight back against the totalitarian speech police, and in turn they are doing their best to suppress our reach. You can help keep us in business by signing up for VIP access. Not only do you get bonus content, but more importantly you help us take a stand against the censors who are working to suppress us. Go here to subscribe and use the code SAVEAMERICA to get 40% off.


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