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“It’s not a happy health walk…” The famous beauty contest in court

“If we wanted to make a textbook case of discriminating criteria, we would take the registration form for Miss France. Absolutely everything is there”. Beauty contest or not, for the association Dare feminism, the practices of Miss France are discriminatory and contrary to labor law. The company Endemol France, which organized the competition until last year, and the company Miss France, which took over the torch in 2021, appeared this Tuesday afternoon before the industrial tribunal of Bobigny ( Seine-Saint-Denis), after being seized by the feminist association October 2021.

To this complaint were added those of three women, as natural persons, who believe that they have been discriminated against, having been unable to apply because of the criteria imposed to participate in the Miss France contest.

Discriminating criteria

And there are many: not having children, not having been married, not consuming alcohol or tobacco in public, being taller than 1m70, not having taken pictures in lingerie or naked pictures, ” not to behave contrary to good morals”, to be “representative of beauty”, “not to have been the subject of any prosecution”… A list of criteria to be respected which prevented the three complainants – who were not not present at the hearing due to threats received on social networks – to register for the first local stage of the famous beauty contest.

“I took photos to show the beauty of all bodies, because I wanted to represent all women. Then, my size did not match. However, the size of a Miss seems to be measured by her centimeters and not by her personality. And I always drank alcohol in public. How sad for me and all the other women who do not claim to be perfect but who have human qualities,” said Anna, one of the plaintiffs, whose testimony was read at the hearing by her lawyer, Me Violaine de Filippis-Abate. “You can be sued and be a minister, but you cannot apply for Miss France”, then quipped the lawyer, in reference to Damien Abad, the new Minister of Solidarity, targeted by accusations of sexual assault.

Miss France, comparable to the presidential election?

But for the company Miss France, directed by Alexia Laroche-Joubert, the elections, whatever they are, are not subject to the Labor Code. “We can take the example of the President of the Republic. He is subject to a discriminatory criterion which is that he must be of French nationality. Senators must be over 24 years old. As for the deputies, they must necessarily reside in their constituency, ”defended Me Stéphanie Dumas, the lawyer for Endemol and the Miss France society. All the more so, for the lawyer, since we cannot speak of discrimination in hiring given that the three complainants did not sign the document, since they ultimately never validated their applications.

If the three plaintiffs were not even able to register, it is because the candidates must certify on their honor that they meet the criteria, under penalty of being attacked, justified Me Violaine de Filippis-Abate: “ We discriminate against candidates and in addition we threaten to sue them for forgery and use of forgery? “, protested the lawyer who also represents the association Dare feminism, claiming a symbolic euro in damages for each complainant and the removal of all clauses deemed discriminatory.

A three-day contract

The other battle horse of the feminist association is the establishment of a work contract for the candidates, from the first stage, that of the local election. “A candidacy for Miss France is a job offer since it can lead to a fixed-term contract for the post of “Miss France” for a year,” argued Me Violaine de Filippis-Abate, who believes that a “Miss enters a circle of making itself available” from the first election.

During the last Miss France 2022 ceremony, in December 2021, the organizing company took a step forward by signing, for the first time, a three-day employment contract, i.e. two days of rehearsals and one day of broadcast ceremony. on television, for the 29 candidates. “You need a real work contract from the local level, for all the preparation of the shows in the region, until the election of Miss France”, regretted Me Violaine de Filippis-Abate, judging the measure insufficient: “Any the year, these women work, are at the disposal of the production for the interviews, the partnerships with brands, the shows in the region. It’s not a happy health stroll to be at Miss France.

But there is no question of talking about an employment contract for the three complainants, estimated for her part Me Stéphanie Dumas: “They cannot ask for an employment contract since they have simply never applied”, she said. simply argued. “I would therefore ask you to dismiss the employees… Sorry, I meant the candidates”, concluded the lawyer, under the laughter of the room. The decision of the industrial tribunal will be rendered on November 8.

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