Seven people have been fined for targeting the runner-up of the “Miss France” 2021 competition with anti-Semitic verbal abuse on social media, reported France 24.

April Benayoum, 21, received anti-Semitic messages after saying at the beauty pageant that she has Israeli roots. The abuse was done mostly on Twitter and included tweets that said, “Hitler forgot about this one” and “Don’t vote for a Jew.”

A Paris court ruled on Wednesday that the seven defendants—four women and three men—must each pay fines ranging from 300 to 800 euros ($350 to $930). They must also pay one euro in damages to Benayoum and to associations fighting racism and anti-Semitism that had joined the plaintiffs, according to France 24.

The court found that the social-media posts were aimed at Benayoum and expressed “a rejection of a person because of their origins” or “because of their presumed religion.” Four of the suspects were also ordered to attend a two-day civics class since they apparently did not fully understand the severity of their actions, said the court.

An eighth suspect was acquitted after it was found that his Twitter post did not directly target Benayoum. All defendants admitted to writing the hateful messages online but denied that the posts were anti-Semitic.

Benayoum’s lawyer, Jean Veil, blamed Twitter for the harm his client faced because the platform allowed the anti-Semitic tweets to remain online for several days.

“My client believes that Twitter’s negligence is to blame,” he said, noting that a separate case has been filed against the social-media giant.


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