YouTube pioneer caught up on sexual abuse charges

In police custody since Monday morning, youtubeur Norman Thavaud has been the target of numerous charges for several years, relegating him to the ban of French content creators.

Norman Thavaud was placed in police custody this Monday morning at the minors protection brigade as part of a preliminary investigation opened by the Paris prosecutor’s office for rape and corruption of minors, learned BFMTV.com, confirming information from Release. Six women have so far filed a complaint against the youtubeur.

In the process, the Webedia group (AlloCiné, PurePeople, 750g, Jeuxvideo.com …) – which works with many internet stars – announced on Twitter “the suspension of its collaboration” with Norman Thavaud.

The light, then the controversies

With more than 2.6 billion views and nearly 12 million subscribers on his “Norman makes videos” page, this training editor still ranks third on the podium of the most followed French youtubers today.

Flag bearer of a new generation of comedians born on social networks, Norman Thavaud made a name for himself in the early 2010s with sequences inspired by his daily life (“Avoir un chat”, “Les toilets”) – called at the time “podcasts” – or video games (“Luigi clash Mario”). Some of his videos have made a lasting mark on YouTube.

While humor on the platform is evolving at high speed, Norman Thavaud’s videos are causing less and less enthusiasm. For several years, despite the 11.9 million subscribers, some content has struggled to exceed 2 million views, against more than 30 million for the ten most popular. A loss of momentum for the 30-year-old, which can be explained both by his outdated formats and by controversies and the first accusations against him.

In June 2018, he was strongly criticized after a humorous video with another youtubeur, Jimmy Labeeu, complaining that he could no longer “laugh at everything” on the internet. “Many have tried, very few have come back alive. Religions, ethnic groups, homosexuality, feminism, politics … These subjects are very sensitive. It is better not to venture there”, he had launched.

Passionate about stand-up, Norman Thavaud went on stage for two solo shows between 2015 and 2020, in addition to appearances in cinema (Mon roi) and on television (Dix pour cent).

But on this ground, the controversies pursue him again. A sequence from his last show caused a lot of reaction when it was released on Amazon Prime Video on December 4, 2020.

“So the latest bullshit they’ve come up with to fight racism is in the next James Bond movie they’re filming there. The next James Bond character, Agent 007, will be played by a renown woman. Is- what we haven’t gone too far in the fight against racism? ‘My name is Bond, Fatoumata Bond’. No it’s not going at all, I don’t agree. Ok?” he amused on stage, arousing many reactions from Internet users who accused him of racism.

He then defended himself and reacted on his Instagram account: “The content of the show leaves no doubt about the substance of my thinking and the sincerity of my anti-racist commitment.”

#Balanceyouryoutubeur

But it was for accusations of sexual violence that his name stood out the most. In 2018, the number one French YouTuber, Squeezie (17.6 million subscribers) denounced on Twitter “YouTubers (including those who shout from the rooftops that they are feminists) who take advantage of the psychological vulnerability of young people subscribers to get sex”.

His tweet had been widely redistributed as part of the #balancetonyoutubeur movement. Quickly, certain testimonies implicated Norman Thavaud.

It was finally in 2020 that a Quebec fan, Maggie Desmarais, publicly accused Norman of having manipulated her to obtain sexual photos and videos, when she was 16 at the time.

She said she had filed a complaint in Canada. As part of a Quebec-French investigation published by the Urbania media in April 2021, other women had made similar accusations against the youtuber for facts that allegedly occurred, while some were still minors. .

Questioned by the Canadian media in 2020 Norman Thavaud had affirmed that he knew the young woman but had denied any accusation.

Following the media coverage of her affair, other young girls came forward. Since then, five new women have filed complaints. The Paris prosecutor’s office then opened a preliminary investigation in January 2022, before placing Norman Thavaud in police custody on Monday.

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