Posted on March 6, 2024

‘Wokism’ Row Overshadows Launch of Paris Olympics Poster

Adam Plowright, AFP, March 5, 2024

French conservatives and far-right figures fumed Tuesday at the official poster for this summer’s Paris Olympics, complaining that a Christian cross and the French flag were missing due to “wokism”.

Those responsible for the image were “ready to deny France, going so far as to distort reality to cancel its history”, Francois-Xavier Bellamy of the right-wing Republicans party wrote on X.

Top of the list of complaints about the poster, which depicts a stylised panorama of Paris, is the absence of the cross that sits atop the Dome des Invalides, the historic military complex in central Paris where Napoleon is buried.

“What is the point of holding the Olympic Games in France if we then hide who we are?” Marion Marechal of the far-right Reconquete (Reconquest) party posted on X.

National Rally (RN) lawmaker Nicolas Meizonnet wrote that the omissions must be the result of “wokism” — a bugbear of France’s far right.

Artist Ugo Gattoni’s design, unveiled on Monday, features a cartoonish Paris cityscape with major landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and a wealth of tiny details, including all 54 Olympic and Paralympic sports.

In reaction to being pulled into France’s culture wars, Gattoni said he had rendered buildings “in the way they come to my mind, without any ulterior motive”.

“I am not aiming to make them accurate to the originals but rather to make them recognisable at a glance, placing them within a surrealist and celebratory universe,” he added in a statement sent to AFP by the organising committee.

The committee said that the posters were a “light-hearted interpretation of a reinvented stadium-city”, adding that there was no obligation to include the French flag.