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Do not give up freedom and diversity of opinions

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A video chronicle of the actress Claude-Inga Barbey, broadcast on Monday March 15 on the Time, raised a sling wind on social networks. The comedian plays there a neurotic psychologist who receives characters in her office who are just as badly off. From sofa to armchair, dialogue between two caricatured individuals, both interpreted by the famous humorist. In the present case, the psychiatrist faces her patient claiming in epicene language her “non-binarity”. The subject is parody, spicy and sticky to the news. Everyone can laugh about it. Or not. In the previous weeks, Claude-Inga Barbey sketched a representative of the army, of the covid task force, a mother anxious about the reopening of schools, a conspiratorial teacher, a Geneva politician candidate for re-election, among others. No one is spared, causticity is the rule of this mode of expression.

Read also: The Open letter from the Collectif Radical d’Action Queer

This video stirred up passions for a few hours on the social networks of the Time. The phenomenon is interesting to observe. A wave of comments fell on the sender and the artist, many messages of indignation, but also a foam of insults silencing any contradictory speaker. Some members of LGBTQIA collectives, some individuals unrelated to this community, activists, anonymous people. The relay by a few foreign accounts creates a powerful leverage effect. In the wake of this wave of protest and calls for censorship, about twenty activists came to the editorial staff to read a letter of demands signed by several groups and demand the withdrawal of this video deemed transphobic.

This reading of the sketch is one of them. Other points of view exist and have been expressed again once the wave has passed. Comments even louder applauding the qualities of the comedian.

Also read: Of the difficult and delicate art of making people laugh

How to laugh?

Nobody at Time, and Claude-Inga Barbey either, does not dream of denying the sufferings of all individuals in our society who question their identity and fight against shackles. But the question asked here is different: do we still have the right to laugh at the societal changes that surround us? Can we exercise irony or should we now prohibit any caustic and disturbing contribution to certain themes? Would it be appropriate that the satire embraces all the subjects and the actors of our debates of society, except the people in search of identity? To these questions, our response is determined: we reaffirm the fundamental right to freedom of expression, founder of our democracy, and its corollaries, freedom of the press and the right to humor. Each of us is free of our thoughts and comedians are free to express them, within the framework of the law, which is here perfectly respected. And Time is precisely there to allow these exchanges and the exercise of these rights.

Let there be no misunderstanding: we take the responsibility associated with this freedom that we cherish very seriously. Time pursues and will continue its work of open media, curious, critical and attached to intellectual honesty. He defends democratic institutions, the rights and freedoms of the individual, takes care to preserve civic peace and social justice without fear of stimulating the debate of opinions. He gives the floor in a broad, open and diverse manner. It echoes the plight of minorities. He holds out his microphone, collects many, varied, contradictory points of view, and tells about the society of today and tomorrow. Understanding this increasingly complex world requires multiplying points of view, considering those that disturb us, sometimes having the courage to speak against oneself. In this exercise, humor has its place and constitutes a mirror of current weaknesses and lines of rupture. We can certainly be wrong, and we will no doubt sometimes be wrong, but we will not renounce the exercise of freedom and diversity.

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