Jean-Marie Le Pen claims the selfie – taken by dancer Brahim Zaibat – damaged his electoral chances.
The former leader of the far-Right Front National party is to sue a dancer who took an unflattering selfie in which the politician can be seen napping on a plane.
Jean-Marie Le Pen claims that the image breached his privacy and damaged his party’s electoral chances.
The photo was taken by Brahim Zaibat – an ex-boyfriend of Madonna – who is a professional dancer and critic of Le Pen’s political views.
He shared the photo across his social media accounts, calling on the French public to vote against the FN during December’s regional elections.
“Let’s all vote tomorrow to give them a knock-out blow. To preserve our fraternal France,” wrote Zaibat – in a post liked and share by tens of thousands.
Polls originally suggested that the FN was set to win up to four of France’s 12 regions – but in a crushing defeat, the party failed to win any.
Zaibat admitted that, although he took the photo three months ago, he released the image during the election in order to cause Le Pen as much embarrassment as possible.
“I thought that the regional elections were the right time as in the first round the FN had a pretty high score,” he told Tele Star.
Le Pen – who is known for his anti-Semitic and homophobic views – said the photo “harmed his image” and contributed massively to the defeat of the party, which is now led by his daughter Marine after she ousted him last year.
He is claiming €50,000 (£37,000) in damages from the dancer and a written apology on social media.
“Do you find it normal to be photographed while asleep on a plane? The court will decide,” he told rue89.
It’s my private life and I want to protect myself against this type of behaviour.”
The legal paper’s are also said to reference Madonna – with whom the Le Pen family have sparred with in the past, after she compared Marie Le Pen to Adolf Hitler and her father to Saddam Hussein.
The FN has previously been accused of fostering homophobic violence by aligning itself with aggressive anti-equal marriage factions, with a 78% rise in anti-gay attacks across France.