Former footballer Samir Nasri was mocked on social media for his physique during a gala match in Marseille on Wednesday. And if many other personalities are victims of “body shaming”, these mockeries meet more and more opposition among Internet users.
Wednesday October 13, it was party night at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. The OM legends match brought together beautiful people – Didier Drogba, Teddy Riner, Fabien Barthez, Jul and many others – and raised 437,250 euros for the benefit of Unicef and the Didier Drogba Foundation . But if, on Twitter, the hashtag #SamirNasri rose very high, it was not for the footballing prowess of the former French international.
Retired since September, the former attacking midfielder, 34, appeared overweight. Enough to cause a wave of “body shaming” on social networks, that is to say more or less bitter mockery on the physical appearance of Samir Nasri.
The native of Marseille has thus joined the long list of celebrities and anonymous targets on the Web because of their physique. The phenomenon, denounced for years, is however not trivial. This form of harassment can have dramatic consequences.
The actor Wentworth Miller (Michael Scofield in the series “Prison Break”) was a victim at one time. At the beginning of 2016, he published a column to tell about his depression, then the harassment to which he had been subjected, and finally to appeal to the victims of “body shaming” to seek help. The entrepreneur Kim Kardashian had done the same. Wednesday, October 13, again, the actor Jonah Hill asked on Instagram that we stop judging his silhouette, for good as for bad: “It does not help me and that it does not do me good. “
“It would have been a lack of morals and ethics. Free wickedness.”
There were a lot of mockeries against Samir Nasri. But the sports press titles have, for the most part, shown restraint. If RMC Sport has already been singled out in recent years for various controversies, in the case of Nasri, the temptation to indulge in “body shaming” has been rejected outright. Romain Duchateau, community manager (CM) within the group, tells France 24 the editorial choices of that evening, while the subject Nasri was among the most discussed on social networks.
Send a mocking post to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? “We refused entry. It was obvious,” he said. “We knew very well that it would have been perceived as a nasty publication. We did not want to make a bad buzz”, explains the journalist.
Internet users’ perceptions of RMC mattered, but not only: “It would have been a lack of morals and ethics. Free wickedness. And beyond my job as CM, I found it degrading to humiliate someone. publicly.”
Yet, as Twitter trends on Wednesday night and Thursday showed, a post about Samir Nasri’s physique could have had a big impact on social media. “We would have made like, retweets, interaction”, recognizes Romain Duchateau. But for RMC Sport and most sports media, this was an insurmountable limit. The buzz race still has a few rules.
Buzz 1, morale 0
Other internet users and other important accounts, followed by thousands, if not millions, of people were less reluctant. With varying degrees of finesse, they shared photos of Samir Nasri. They were accompanied, for the most part, by sometimes mocking, sometimes insulting, sometimes sarcastic messages. But always, therefore, in the form of doors open to taunts. Morality is very reprehensible, but these accounts have chosen the buzz.
“I’m not surprised they did. They’re looking for click and visibility. To them it was gold. They knew it was going to generate views and people were going to react: Nasri was a divisive player, he gained weight, he wore the OM jersey… These accounts had everything to gain. They knew that it was going to make people talk, for good and for bad, “observes Romain Duchateau. “Me, I find that shameful,” he commented, critical of the responsibilities that should fall to anyone who addresses a large audience on the Web.
Internet users, in fact, have appreciated the “body shaming” in various ways. Maybe they were more forgiving because he was a French footballer? Unless the prevention work on online harassment pays off? Still, in the reactions, there was certainly mockery, but also an undeniable number of angry comments against the “body shamers” and empathetic towards Samir Nasri.
Far from mockery, total tenderness for these guys who have sweated so much for years to comply with the requirements of high level football and who are now enjoying the life after.
You see a fat man, I imagine a happy man. pic.twitter.com/OuazO1MuUu
— Gigg’s (@Giggs_) October 13, 2021
Sometimes benevolence reappears
At RMC Sport, Romain Duchateau observed this a posteriori. On the evening of Wednesday, the former footballer Lorik Cana, friend and teammate of Samir Nasri at OM between 2005 and 2008, “made a nice little valve” on his overweight. “Nasri took it well by the way. Since it was benevolent and not at all mean, we relayed the quote from Cana with a picture of Nasri. And our own message was very sober.”
Results in the comments? “Of course, there were valves. But others defended Nasri: ‘you like to criticize too much’, ‘leave him alone’, ‘he has the right to live his life’, ‘there is no point in make fun ‘… For once, there was a lot of benevolence. I am pleasantly surprised “, remarks the community manager.
Body shaming persists, still has followers and is unlikely to be extinguished anytime soon. But he meets resistance. And if the bad buzz and criticism are not enough, justice can get involved: in France, cyberbullying is an offense punishable by a one-year prison sentence and a fine of 15,000 euros according to the Criminal Code, and the law to combat hateful content on the Internet was promulgated in June 2020.