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Bergé charged with defamation

Aids charity boss Pierre Bergé has been charged with defaming the organisers of the Téléthon, AFM

AIDS charity head Pierre Bergé has been charged with defamation for critical remarks about the Téléthon.

In November last year, the Sidaction president accused muscular dystrophy charity AFM of “being a parasite on French people’s generosity” because it raises so much money through the annual event.

The Téléthon, which has been running since 1987, raises up to €100 million a year for AFM. Mr Bergé said this was too much for a single charity and claimed AFM used it to “buy blocks of flats” and that the millions raised were “put to no use”. The charity denied this, saying it only invested in buildings destined to “help or heal”.

Mr Bergé also accused AFM of using too many images of suffering children to whip up support.

AFP president Laurence Thiennot-Herment, announcing her intention to sue Mr Bergé, said: “You can’t get away with just attacking such a fragile edifice as the Téléthon, which has so many hopes riding on it and has already achieved so much.”

Mr Bergé said he was “quite pleased” to be charged because it would publicly air the issues.

The contract between France Télévisions and AFM has now ended and it is said if the event continues next year it may have a “different format”, though no details have been released.

Previous story
Téléthon donations down

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