He made it an “absolute moral requirement”. Since joining the Ministry of National Education last July, Gabriel Attal wants to show that he is fully committed to the fight against school bullying. In the first portrait dedicated to him on the show Sept à Huit, broadcast this Sunday evening on TF1, the 34-year-old minister reveals that he himself was harassed when he was in college. “If I am so keen to get involved in school bullying, it is perhaps because the fact of having experienced insults has forged something,” he confides in front of to journalist Audrey Crespo-Mara.
As a teenager, he says he went through “a flood of insults”, “very violent” for “several months”. “I was at the end of middle school, I was 14-15 years old. It was a student of the establishment who had opened this site on which it was necessary to put comments on the physical appearance of the students,” he recalls. On this blog, Gabriel Attal is called “faggot, tafiole, tarlouze”. “It was about my sexual orientation, assumed at the time, because I didn’t talk about it around me,” he explains, after publicly revealing his homosexuality in 2019. “What was hard for me, and which is also the case today for many young people, it is sometimes the feeling that we have no one to talk to about it.”
A few years later, in 2018, this same comrade came back and attacked him after his appointment to the government. “I understood that he didn’t want to let go of me. He posted messages on social networks making references to my homosexuality,” relates the man who was then Secretary of State for Youth. Since then, Gabriel Attal claims to have “built a shell”. “Fear must change sides, shame must change sides,” he insists, who was confronted upon his arrival at the Hôtel de Rochechouart with several cases of harassment, including Lindsay’s suicide. More than a month after the launch of a national plan, “several dozen” students have had to change establishments since the start of the school year after “harassing a classmate”, he argues.
These are other “messages” and “letters” of which the Minister of National Education now claims to be a victim. “My father told me: you may not be Jewish, but you will suffer anti-Semitism all your life like the Jews because you have a Jewish name,” he says, in a context of rising anti-Semitic acts. since the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Already in 2021, he published an anonymous letter on his Instagram account on which “two stars” were drawn, one yellow and one pink.
After his decision to ban abayas and qamis in schools at the beginning of September, Gabriel Attal also claims to have received “threatening letters”. “When you are a minister who makes strong decisions, you know that you expose yourself to that,” he puts things into perspective, nevertheless ensuring that he has filed several complaints.