PARIS: One of France’s most popular YouTube celebrities has been detained for questioning by police investigating charges he raped several young women in recent years, Paris prosecutors said on Dec 5.
Norman Thavaud, who shot to fame with quirky send-ups of everyday events, is facing accusations from six alleged victims, according to French daily Liberation, which first reported his detention.
Five of the women accuse him of rape, two of whom were minors at the time, according to the paper.
Another woman, a Canadian identified as Maggie D., publicly accused Thavaud in 2020 of inducing her to send him sexually suggestive photos and videos, which could see him charged with corrupting a minor.
Maggie D. confirmed to AFP that she was currently in France so that she could testify to investigators in Thavaud’s presence, having already filed a complaint in Canada.
Thavaud, a 31-year-old whose YouTube handle is “NormanFaitDesVideos” (Norman Makes Videos), has amassed nearly 12 million subscribers with videos seen more than 2.7 billion times since he launched his act in 2011.
Before the Covid-19 epidemic he had also taken his act on the road for a series of successful live shows.
His entourage was not immediately available for comment.
The claims come as France has seen a series of sexual abuse allegations against prominent media, entertainment and political figures in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Many have not led to trial, however, because of statute of limitations or insufficient evidence. – AFP