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“League of LOL”: the investigation into suspicions of cyberbullying has been dismissed


The investigation opened for suspicion of cyberbullying in the LOL League affair has been dismissed by the Paris prosecutor’s office, Agence France-Presse (AFP) learned from a source familiar with the matter on Friday 3 FEBRUARY. The closure of the investigation opened in March 2019 without follow-up was carried out in February 2022 due to a “insufficiently characterized offence”.

The case broke out in February 2019 after the publication of an article from the fact-checking site of Release Checknews. It revealed the existence of a private Facebook group called “LOL League”bringing together around thirty journalists and communicators, accused of having cyber-harassed other journalists and bloggers, in particular women and feminist activists, at the turn of the 2010s.

At the time of its revelation, it had caused a scandal in the journalistic profession, but also a wave of dismissals of several implicated.

An investigation opened in March 2019

Faced with the outcry over the case, some of the respondents were quick to issue apologies, which they deemed rushed or exaggerated after the fact. SOS Racisme had taken legal action, imitated a few weeks later by the association Prenons la une, which campaigns for gender equality in newsrooms.

The Paris prosecutor’s office had opened the investigation in March 2019, entrusting it to the Brigade for the repression of local delinquency (BRDP). According to a source familiar with the matter, the case culminated in the hearing by the police in the summer of 2021, under the status of free suspect, of a defendant, targeted by a double complaint for tweets from the end of the 2010s. The person concerned, a member of the disputed group “for barely three months “, did not wish to comment.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Harassment and sexism in the media: a widespread phenomenon

Two other potential suspects were identified during the investigation but the facts concerning them were time-barred, said the source close to the case, while other people who considered themselves victims of this cyberharassment had given up filing a complaint by fear of online reprisals, they said.

Procedures for dismissal “without real cause”

These accusations had led to the dismissal of some people accused of harassment. However, justice characterized some of them as unjustified.

The Paris industrial tribunal thus condemned in September 2021 the magazine Les Inrockuptibles for having fired “without real and serious cause” its ex-editor-in-chief David Doucet, dismissed in 2019 following the LOL League affair, we learned on Saturday from his lawyer.

In July 2022, the daily Release who had dismissed journalist Vincent Glad for his participation in the LOL League, a Facebook group, whose members have been accused of cyberbullying, was convicted of dismissal without real and serious cause and in a vexatious manner. A decision that the newspaper appealed.

Alexandre Hervaud, another journalist from Release also dismissed for his participation in the Facebook group, he had been dismissed by the industrial tribunal in the fall of 2020. He appealed.


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“This information is not a surprise and shows that after a long three-year investigation, the media story of a harassing group did not hold up”, reacted the person concerned to AFP. He added : “This devastating event ruined dozens of lives with layoffs, suicide attempts and depression. These people still suffer from it today”.

Beyond the specific cases, the case had provoked at the time of its revelation an important debate on sexism in the journalistic world.

The World with AFP