In a surprising turn of events, French President Emmanuel Macron is reaching out with a gesture of reconciliation to the video gaming community, after he earlier associated them with the destructive riots that swept across France earlier this year.
Through a post on the social networking platform, X, formerly known as Twitter, Macron professionally revised his earlier controversial June remark, where he contended that video games had “intoxicated” some young perpetrators of the riots.
His initial comments had led to a chorus of disappointment within the gaming community, extending beyond French borders. Kastuhiro Harada, a renowned Japanese game director, retorted that “assigning blame is an artful way to evade responsibility.”
Macron took to penning an unexpectedly detailed post over the course of the weekend, beginning with a moment of contrition, admitting: “I startled gamers.”
Continuing his post, he made efforts to elucidate his initial position, lavishing praise on video games and their associated industry.
“Video games are an intrinsic part of France,” Macron proclaimed.
“It was toward the end of June that I voiced concerns because miscreants had utilized video gaming trends to trivialize the brutal violence seen on social media platforms,” Macron explained further. “It’s this violence I am condemning, not video games.”
The violent disturbance originated following the fatal police shooting of Nahel Merzouk, a seventeen-year-old of North African descent born in France, in a Nanterre suburb of Paris on June 27. Merzouk, who succumbed to a solitary gunshot to his arm and chest, was pulled over by officers on motorcycles asserting he had been driving recklessly.
Violent protests erupted rapidly from Nanterre and evolved into a countrywide pandemonium that infiltrated cities, towns, villages alike, and was widely celebrated on social networks.
At a governmental crisis meeting at the time, Macron held social networks culpable for their “significant role” in exacerbating the unrest through their propagation of imitation violence, and criticized video games.
Appealing to the younger rioters, he said, “this fosters an illusory detachment from reality. An impression is created that some are essentially reenacting, in the real world, the enthralling video games they have been engulfed by.”
His most recent post, however, adopted a refreshingly divergent tone.
“I have always believed video games to be an asset for France, its youthful demographic, its future, job market, and economy,” he opined.
The industry “inspires, cultivates dreams, promotes growth!” Macron accentuated his post.