Dozens jailed in France’s largest cyberbully case

Magali Berdah
Influencer Magali Berdah was the focus of cyberbullying campaign, a French court found (Image: gossip.fr)

Twenty-eight people have been jailed for up to 18 months for the harassment of an influencer in France’s largest cyberbullying case to date.

Judges found the accused guilty of harassing Magali Berdah, spurred on by a campaign by the French rapper Booba against “thieving influencers”.

The court in Paris heard that the harassment had “real consequences” to Ms Berdah’s mental health.

Booba is facing a separate trail and denies aggravated harassment.

Ms Berdah has built a prominent career in France as a lifestyle and fashion expert, while also marketing other social media stars through her company Shauna Events.

Her lawyers said posts from Booba, real name Élie Yaffa, encouraged a “mob” of people online to send hateful and insulting messages to their client, something Booba denied.

The court said that each of the defendants “made a conscious choice to join in” with the cyberbullying.

The accused, aged between 20 and 49, received jail terms ranging from four to 18 months, some of which were suspended.

Ms Berdah, known as “the queen of influencers” in France, hailed the sentencing as a “beautiful victory” after previously telling the court that the bullying brought her “within a whisker of throwing (herself) out of the window”.

Rapper Booba
Booba made headlines in 2018 after a brawl in a Paris airport. (Image: EPA)

 

“My life was destroyed for two years because of this,” she said. “Finally, I’ve been recognised as a victim.”

Her lawyers said the convictions showed “no one is safe behind their keyboard”.

The defendants were fined 700 euros (£598) and were ordered to pay an additional combined 54,000 euros (£56,100) in compensation to their victim.

Booba denied in December that he had put himself at the head of an online “mob”.

The rapper made headlines in 2018 after being involved in a brawl at a Paris airport with fellow rapper Kaaris, for which both received an 18 month suspended jail sentence.

Ms Berdah is due in court on a separate charge of money laundering and her marketing company Shauna Events is being investigated for fraud.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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