An influential French music magazine has been criticised for putting a rock singer who beat his girlfriend to death on its latest front cover.
The October edition of Les Inrockuptibles features a front page photo of Bertrand Cantat, the golden boy of 1990s French rock whose fame became notoriety in 2003, when he was convicted of murdering his actor girlfriend, Marie Trintignant.
A postmortem reported that the gifted actor, who was a nominated five times for a Cesar, the French equivalent of the Oscars, had been struck up to 19 times, causing severe brain damage. She slipped into a coma and later died in hospital.
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In court, Cantat admitted “slapping” her four times, but maintained that he did not realise the extent of her injuries and believed her to be sleeping.
“Cantat was released on parole in 2007 and is currently promoting a new album,” The Guardian reports.
Marlene Schiappa, the French minister for gender equality, led the charge against the cover. “How on earth are we meant to put up with the promotion of the man who beat Marie Trintignant to death?,” she tweeted. “Don’t stand for any of it.”
Conservative politician Nicolas Dupont-Aignan accused the magazine of “indecency beyond limits”, noting that an abused woman is murdered in France the equivalent of every three days.
Women’s rights groups and victims advocates joined the chorus of outrage, although some commentators argued that Cantat has served his sentence and has a right to re-enter society.
The French edition of Elle responded to the Cantat cover with its own special front page “In the name of Marie”, paying tribute to his victim and all domestic abuse victims.
In response, the magazine has published a message to readers defending their coverage of Cantat as a subject that was “impossible to ignore,” but acknowledging the decision to put him on the front cover as “questionable”.
“To those who felt hurt, we express our sincere regrets,” they wrote.
It is not the first time that Les Inrockuptibles has been accused of being overly indulgent towards Cantat. In 2013, there was a similar public backlash in response to an interview with the magazine in which Cantat complained about the media’s reporting of Trintagnant's death, the BBC reports.
“My remorse, my suffering, my sensitivity - it didn't count for anything in the story. I became a caricature. The fact that I love Marie so much - it was wiped,” he said, adding that it was “appalling” that he had become a symbol of violence against women.
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