Hollywood actor and film director Mathieu Kassovitz faces up to a year in prison for tweeting that French police were a “bunch of b*stards” as his contempt trial begins today.
Hollywood star Kassovitz, 51, outraged French police officers when he tweeted at their official account: “Bunch of b*stards. 7g !!! 24 cops !!!!! You are a gang of good-for-nothings @PoliceNationale.”
He was referring to a drug bust that had taken place at a psychiatric hospital in Nantes during which 24 police officers were reportedly deployed, yielding a haul of seven grammes of cannabis.
The police had posted a tweet of their drug bust, mentioning that they seized seven grammes of cannabis resin thanks to the deployment of 24 police officers and two K9 unit dogs.
The official Twitter account of the French national police force later replied to Kassovitz’s now-deleted tweet with their own message, saying: “Mr Kassovitz, our commitment is total when it comes to ensuring the security of every citizen, 24/7, including your own and those who are dear to you. #FierdEtrePoliciers” (‘#ProudToBeCops’).
Kassovitz reportedly replied to the police’s reply: “Thanks guys. My family and I are doing very well and the only reason to have to deal with you is if 24 of you stopped me with 7 grammes of hashish in my pocket. #BonnesFetes” (#HappyHolidays).
The incident took place in late December 2017 and the famous film director, who has made cult films such as ‘La Haine’ (1995) and Gothika (2003), and acted in Amelie (2001), subsequently deleted his account.
In the wake of the incident, about fifteen police officers backed by the Alliance police union lodged a complaint against the Hollywood legend for “contempt”.
The star is now appearing on contempt charges at the Criminal Court in Paris and faces up to one year behind bars and fine of up to 15,000 EUR (13,246 GBP) if convicted.
French media report that the world-renowned director had repeatedly posted controversial tweets before he eventually deleted his account.
His lawyer was quoted in local media as saying that Kassovitz would be present at the trial later today (Thursday).
Before deleting his account, Kassovitz apologised in a tweet, saying: “Of course I apologise for the insults but without being excessive things do not change. We have a problem with the police in this country and the legalisation of drugs.”
He then posted another tweet, adding: “I reacted like a citizen. The police do not solve anything. I am in reaction mode. That is what Twitter is for! If the police are shocked, I will see them in court. “
Eric Morvan, the head of the national police force, expressed his support for the Nantes police officers who filed a complaint, saying “comments are free, but insults are useless.”