Image does not show Marine Le Pen crying after French vote

Social media posts purport to show National Rally (RN) leader Marine Le Pen crying after a broad coalition of left-wing parties dashed her far-right party's dreams of an absolute majority in the French parliament. This is false; the image is from a 2017 talk radio segment that captured the politician laughing.

"Inspired by Marine Le Pen meltdown upon losing the French election, please enjoy this thread of SAD FASCISTS CRYING," says a July 8, 2024 X post with more than 116,000 likes.

<span>Screenshot of an X post taken July 10, 2024</span>
Screenshot of an X post taken July 10, 2024

The claims spread elsewhere on X, Facebook and TikTok in several languages, including French, Arabic and Spanish.

France's left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) alliance -- made up of the hard-left France Unbowed (LFI), the Communist Party, the Greens and the Socialist Party -- secured the most seats in the National Assembly during the July 7 parliamentary election.

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron's camp came second in the snap vote, taking 164 seats after voters came together to block the anti-immigrant RN from power. The election, which Macron called with the goal of "clarifying" the political landscape, left France with a hung parliament.

Although Le Pen's far-right party was projected to lead, the screenshot shared online does not show her crying after the RN failed to win the most seats.

Reverse image and keyword searches found radio network Europe 1 originally posted the video October 8, 2021 on YouTube (archived here). The French title says: "When Marine Le Pen laughed so hard she cried at Nicolas Canteloup's impersonations."

The footage was filmed in March 2017 when Le Pen appeared as a guest on Thomas Sotto's morning show.

"The president of the National Rally party laughed out loud at his impersonations, particularly one of Jean-Jacques Bourdin," the video description says.

Several French media outlets covered the segment in late March 2017 (archived here and here).

Despite not living up to polling expectations, the RN and its allies still gained ground in the National Assembly, growing its seats from 89 in 2022 to more than 140. Victory "has only been postponed," Le Pen told reporters July 10 as she accompanied RN parliamentarians to inspect their new workplace.

More of AFP's reporting on misinformation about French politics is available here.