TV host catfishes men with fake bisexual profile & humiliates them live on air

Cyril Hanouna
Cyril Hanouna tricked gay men into sharing their sexual fantasies on live TV. Photo: Touche Pas A Mon Poste/Twitter Screenshot

A TV presenter in France is under fire for catfishing queer men with a fake online profile, then mocking them live on air by calling them up and having them describe their sexual fantasies. The men were unaware they were being listened in on by 1.7 million people.

Cyril Hanouna, host of Don’t Touch My TV Set (Touche Pas A Mon Poste), prowled the stage, using flamboyant gestures and a high-pitched voice while speaking to the unsuspecting men.

Hanouna posed as a bisexual man named Jean-José, and described himself as “very sporty and well endowed,” adding that he “liked being insulted,” reports French newspaper Ouest France newspaper.

The stunt, airing Thursday night, resulted in nearly 20,000 complaints to the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA), the independent regulator of television standards, and LGBTQ advocacy group SOS Homophobie also filed a complaint, reports Gay Star News.

Nicolas Noguier of Le Refuge, a group helping young victims of homophobia, wrote on Facebook that one hotline operator had spent most of the night talking to one of the men Hanouna spoke with in front of a studio audience and the million-plus viewers at home.

“We were devastated by his tears and his fear of being found out by his parents and those around him,” Noguier said, the BBC reports.

Someone else crying foul? The torso in question in Hanouna’s fake profile, model and YouTuber Max Emerson. Emerson first asked if the jokes were funny, when informed that his picture was used on the show.

“It was the most homophobic joke ever made on TV using your pic to trap…people live in front of millions…So no it was not funny,” he was told.

When informed of the nature of the “prank,” Emerson said he hoped the TV presenter would learn a lesson from the experience.

“Homophobia is everything I’ve been fighting against for years, just like xenophobia, racism and misogyny, and today being called homophobic makes me feel really sad,” Hanouna said.

President of SOS Homophobie Joël Deumier called the act “scandalous, shameful and homophobic.”

“When you let people get away with behavior like this, you trivialize homophobic discourse,” he added. “This sketch was deeply homophobic and you would have to be aware of it.”

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