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Blogger says his posts were aimed at overly aggressive feminists

Jean-Claude Rochefort, 73, is accused of incitement to hatred against women by publishing articles in 2019 on the massacre of the École Polytechnique.

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Jean-Claude Rochefort, the man accused of inciting hatred against women by posting articles on the internet criticizing feminists while praising the man who carried out the École Polytechnique massacre, confirmed Friday being the author of all the pictures and writings that led to his arrest more than two years ago.

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Rochefort, 73, repeatedly said during his testimony before Superior Court Judge Pierre Labrie at the Montreal courthouse that the articles he published were “exaggerations” intended to criticize the feminists he considered too “virulent” or too “aggressive” in their opinions of Men.

“In my opinion, when we were younger we used to say we were in a free country and we had freedom of speech and all that. But later on it became more boxed in. I wasn’t following what was going on. was going on in the news, so definitely doing these blogs I wasn’t aware of what could be tricky,” Rochefort said. “I’m an old man who just wanted to write about certain topics.

The defendant said he often used the format of a comic strip in his posts to express himself in an exaggerated or absurd way and that they “should not be taken seriously”. He said he was a fan of the Tintin books when he was young and portrayed the main character as “a 15-year-old boy surrounded by ridiculous adults”.

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Defense lawyer Rodolphe Bourgeois asked Rochefort several questions about Tintin. Rochefort enthused, saying that the book Cigars of the Pharaoh was his favorite. But Labrie interrupted him and asked what was the point. Bourgeois said it was to provide context for Rochefort’s testimony in general. The judge allowed the questions to continue, but joked that he was sure there was no case law of a “Tintin defence” in Canadian law.

Most of the articles published by Rochefort between September and December 2019 included photo-edited images of Marc Lépine, the man who murdered 14 women and injured 14 others on December 6, 1989 at École Polytechnique de Montréal. Lépine committed suicide, and police found a letter inside his jacket stating that he intended to kill feminists.

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Almost all of the doctored photos depicted Lépine holding a gun or guns.

Rochefort published the articles in the weeks leading up to the 30th anniversary of the massacre. On Friday, he said some of what he posted was a reaction to how some Montreal media had covered the anniversary in previous years. He said he believed one outlet in particular blamed “all men” for what happened.

“My criticism was against those who were more outspoken or more aggressive,” Rochefort said on Friday. “I didn’t want to be the leader of a movement.”

Rochefort also said he felt the commemoration of the massacre had “almost become a religious ceremony”.

“(Blogs) were (intended) to poke fun at this. This was (intended) to be an exaggeration. I was exaggerating on my side. If they had a religious ceremony with martyrs, I would put mine there,” Rochefort said. “But it was not to be taken seriously.”

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Bourgeois reviewed a long list of articles that Rochefort posted before the period covering this case. The lawyer asked his client to read the articles, often written in English, out loud in court.

“Stop putting up your decorations and sending out invitations for the annual St. Mark’s Day celebration. Colored lights, candles, ammunition belts hanging from the racks, a picture of Saint Mark above the fireplace. Decorations of a man’s home that make him feel there is hope. If you really want to hurt feminists, just commemorate the death of Saint Mark on December 6. It’s as simple as that,” Rochefort said while reading the article for the court.

Bourgeois asked Rochefort to explain what he meant by “hurting feminists”.

“They expect men to bow their heads that day and say, ‘I am guilty.’ So instead of saying ‘I’m guilty’, they can say ‘I’m not guilty’. Something like that. Nothing more than that,” Rochefort said with a laugh at his response.

Rochefort will resume his testimony on Monday.

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  1. Jean-Claude Rochefort reportedly posted hate messages on a blog in 2019 under the name Rick Flashman.

    “Imminent and disturbing remarks” were posted in front of the Polytechnique memorial, according to the lawsuit

  2. Jean-Claude Rochefort at the Montreal courthouse in January 2020.

    Man accused of inciting hatred against women loses right to a jury trial

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