The mayor of the French city of Chantilly has apologized for his insult of French President Emmanuel Macron by claiming Macron was exhibiting “Khmer behavior”, according to The Phnom Penh Post Online on Monday.
Mayor Eric Woerth made the comment during an interview with Europe 1 last Wednesday claiming Macron was behaving “unworthily” and like a Khmer because he refused to allow ex-prime minister Manuel Valls to join his new party.
Valls attempted to run for parliament as part of the La Republique En Marche party, but was rejected.
Woerth’s remark was an apparent reference to the authoritarian nature of the Khmer Rouge but was quickly condemned by the Cambodian government officials, Khmer Rouge scholars and social media netizens.
Cambodia’s ambassador to France demanded an apology for the mayor’s comment, saying it was out of context and lack common sense.
Following the backlash, Woerth posted an apology on Facebook, explaining that he meant to refer to the Khmer Rouge, not the Khmer people as a whole, but had still makde a mistake by trivializing the horrors of the regime. “If I hurt anyone, please accept my apology,” he wrote.
Rithy Panh, a famous Cambodian director who primarily works on stories related to the Khmer Rouge tweeted that Woerth’s comparison was “still stupid”.
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