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‘No, No! Call me Mr President,' Macron snaps at rebellious French teen

CHARLES PLATIAU / POOL / AFP | French President Emmanuel Macron takes a selfie with children in Paris on June 18, 2018.
3 min

French President Emmanuel Macron has carefully cultivated a youthful modern image, a leader who enjoys casual walk-abouts and posing for selfies. Just make sure to call him "Mr President."


A floppy-haired French teenager asked, Ca va, Manu?” (How’s it going, Manu?) to Macron as he greeted the crowds at an event to honour World War II Resistance fighters near Paris on Monday.

Even before calling the president "Manu", the teen had started to sing a few lines of the famed Socialist anthem "The Internationale" – viewed as a dig at the president for his controversial pro-business reforms.

Video of incident with English subtitles in tweet below:

Macron loses his ‘cool’

The president, 40, reacted with barely controlled outrage. The teenager rapidly apologised, but the president was not prepared to let matters rest.

“No, no, you are at an official ceremony. You can act like a clown, but today it’s the ‘Marseillaise’ and the ‘Partisans Song’ we’re singing. You address me as Monsieur le President of the Republic or Sir,” snapped the centrist president.

Perhaps spotting the banks of journalists and rolling cameras, Macron rapidly attempted to justify his irritation.

“You need to do things the right way. Even if you want to lead a revolution one day, you’ve first got to earn a diploma and learn how to put food on the table. And then you can lecture others,” Macron told the teenager.

Double standards?

But it was too late for the president who has worked hard to promote a fresh social media presence: the video had already gone viral.

It’s not the first time Macron has been captured on camera being sharp with those who challenge or disrespect him.

In a video released by his office last week he complained that the French were spending a "crazy amount of dough" on social security.

Macron's critics said the video demonstrated he lacked compassion for the poor and called him the "president of the rich".

Last year, Macron shocked many on the left by calling protesting opponents of his labour reforms "slackers".

And when, during last year’s presidential campaign, a striking worker accused him of being “just a man in a suit”, the president-to-be retorted: “The best way to pay for a suit is to get a job.”

Macron is increasingly facing criticism for his blunt language.

Perhaps with the pressures of running the Republique, his tightly controlled image is beginning to crack.


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