On Wednesday, September 25, a Paris court ruled in favor of Éric Brion, the former employer and alleged harasser of the founder of the French #MeToo movement, Sandra Muller.
In October 2017, Muller tweeted the hashtag “balancetonporc” (“rat on your pig”), alongside sexual harassment allegations against Brion. While Muller was working under Brion, Brion made flirtatious advances toward her. According to Muller, he told her, “You have big breasts. You are my type of woman. I will make you orgasm all night.”
Following the accusations, Brion claimed that it became impossible to work–the social media campaign Muller started made his name go viral. He stated that the issue was a “conflation of heavy-handed flirting and sexual harassment in the workplace.”
In court, Brion’s lawyer argued that he has a “right to flirt.” Brion asserted that he apologized for his words, and did not pursue Muller further after the incident.
The court ruled that Muller did not have a “factual basis” to accuse Brion and proceeded to chastise her for comparing him to alleged rapist Harvey Weinstein. Brion praised the court’s ruling as a “victory of true justice.”
Muller paid $22,000 in damages and fees following the verdict. “I lost today, but the other women won,” she reported, referring to the movement against sexual harassment her tweet sparked. However, Muller is still worried that the case may silence future victims. She plans to appeal.