After Castigating Video Games during Riots, France’s Macron Backpedals and Showers Them with Praise

French President Emmanuel Macron plays a video game next to Adrien Nougaret, aka ZeratoR, during a meeting with French esport video game players at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday June 3, 2022. (AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron plays a video game next to Adrien Nougaret, aka ZeratoR, during a meeting with French esport video game players at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday June 3, 2022. (AP)
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After Castigating Video Games during Riots, France’s Macron Backpedals and Showers Them with Praise

French President Emmanuel Macron plays a video game next to Adrien Nougaret, aka ZeratoR, during a meeting with French esport video game players at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday June 3, 2022. (AP)
French President Emmanuel Macron plays a video game next to Adrien Nougaret, aka ZeratoR, during a meeting with French esport video game players at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday June 3, 2022. (AP)

French President Emmanuel Macron is extending an olive branch to video gamers after previously linking computer games to rioting that rocked France earlier this year.

Posting on social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, Macron backpedaled on remarks in June where he blamed video games for having “intoxicated” some young rioters.

Those comments dismayed some in the gaming community, even beyond France. Japanese game director Kastuhiro Harada tweeted in response that “blaming something is a great way to escape the burden of responsibility.”

Macron started his unusually lengthy post this weekend with a mea culpa, saying: “I startled gamers.”

He then sought to clarify his thinking and showered video games and the industry with praise.

“Video games are an integral part of France,” Macron declared.

“I expressed my concerns at the end of June because delinquents had used video game habits to trivialize the violence on social networks,” he said. “It is this violence that I condemn, not video games.”

The unrest started after the police shooting of Nahel Merzouk in the Paris suburb of Nanterre on June 27. The French-born 17-year-old of north African descent was stopped by two officers on motorbikes who subsequently alleged that he’d been driving dangerously. He died from a single shot through his left arm and chest.

From Nanterre, violent protests quickly spread and morphed into generalized nationwide mayhem in cities, towns and even villages that was celebrated on social networks.

In a government crisis meeting at the time, Macron accused social networks of playing “a considerable role” in the unrest and of fueling copycat violence and castigated video games.

“Among the youngest (rioters), this leads to a sort of escape from reality. We sometimes have the feeling that some of them are living out, on the streets, the video games that have intoxicated them,” Macron said.

His latest post, however, struck an entirely different tone.

“I have always considered that video games are an opportunity for France, for our youth and its future, for our jobs and our economy,” he said.

The industry “inspires, makes people dream, makes them grow!” Macron continued.

He concluded: “You can count on me.”



German Police Detain Suspected Stalker Ahead of Taylor Swift Concert

17 July 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gelsenkirchen: US singer Taylor Swift performs on the stage at the Veltins Arena during the first concert in Germany as part of her "The Eras Tour". Photo: Marius Becker/dpa
17 July 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gelsenkirchen: US singer Taylor Swift performs on the stage at the Veltins Arena during the first concert in Germany as part of her "The Eras Tour". Photo: Marius Becker/dpa
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German Police Detain Suspected Stalker Ahead of Taylor Swift Concert

17 July 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gelsenkirchen: US singer Taylor Swift performs on the stage at the Veltins Arena during the first concert in Germany as part of her "The Eras Tour". Photo: Marius Becker/dpa
17 July 2024, North Rhine-Westphalia, Gelsenkirchen: US singer Taylor Swift performs on the stage at the Veltins Arena during the first concert in Germany as part of her "The Eras Tour". Photo: Marius Becker/dpa

German police said Thursday that they detained a man suspected of stalking Taylor Swift ahead of the first of three shows by the pop star in the western city of Gelsenkirchen.
The man was detained following tips from organizers of the event, police said in a statement. They said he had previously made threats against the singer, German news agency dpa reported. They gave no more details of the man or the background to the incident.
Police said that Wednesday evening's concert, attended by about 60,000 people, went peacefully.
The American superstar has shows in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as part of her Eras Tour.
Ahead of the concerts, the city put up signs temporarily renaming itself “Swiftkirchen" and honored the singer on a “Walk of Fame” that commemorates local celebrities.
After Gelsenkirchen, Swift plans concerts in two other German cities, Hamburg and Munich.