Fake News: Disgraced Macron Aide Alexandre Benalla NOT Neighbour Of Mamoudou Gassama

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk
Fake News: Disgraced Macron Aide Alexandre Benalla NOT Neighbour Of Mamoudou Gassama

Was Alexandre Benalla, a disgraced aide of French President Macron who was filmed beating up a protester on May 1st, also the neighbour of Mamoudou Gassama, the Malinese illegal immigrant who saved a child from falling off a balcony by quickly climbing up and who got naturalised for his heroism? No, that's not true: the part about Benalla was made up by a satire website from Belgium. It is not real.

The story originated from an article published by Nordpresse on July 20, 2018 titled "Exclu: Alexandre Benalla était le voisin de l'enfant sauvé par Mamoudou Gassama" (archived here) which opened:

C'est un nouveau pied dans la tombe du quinquennat Macron. Alexandre Benalla serait selon Closer l'homme à l'origine de l'incident de l'enfant de Saint-Denis. Comme on peut le revoir sur ces images qui ne font désormais plus aucun doute, c'est bien Alexandre Benalla qui tenait l'enfant lors de l'acte héroïque de Mamoudou Gassama.

L'enquête doit désormais comprendre le lien qui existait entre l'enfant et Benalla et entre celui-ci et Mamoudou Gassama.

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Exclu: Alexandre Benalla était le voisin de l'enfant sauvé par Mamoudou Gassama


Alexandre Benalla was fired after video footage emerged of him beating up a protester while wearing a police helmet, even though he wasn't even a police officer.

Macron aide to be dismissed over assault

A senior French presidential aide is to be dismissed from his job, officials say, after footage emerged of protesters in Paris being attacked by a man wearing a police visor. The action against Alexandre Benalla was taken after "new facts" emerged in the case, French President Emmanuel Macron's office said on Friday.

But he has nothing at all to do with Mamoudou Gassama or his tale of heroism.

Le Journal Du Nord (nordpresse.be) is a satirical website that was set up to mock the (real) sudpresse.be (since renamed sudinfo.be), a Belgian media group. They were involved in a lawsuit with each other in 2017 which was eventually won by NordPresse.

They have sort of a disclaimer in their header that reads:

Toute l'information vérifiée par nos analystes simiens

Translated: "all information verified by our monkey analysts".

We wrote about nordpresse.be before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:

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  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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