The French channel that airs the local edition of The Voice is considering to expel a participant from the popular singing competition. The reason? Some controversial posts on her Facebook account she wrote back in 2016, which showed support for conspiracy theories relating to the terror attacks that the country suffered that year.
The 22-year-old singer, Mennel Ibtissem, was born in the city of Besançon, in the east of France, and has Moroccan and Algerian origins. She debuted on The Voice Saturday night, performing Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen in Arabic before the eyes of six million viewers across the country.
Her singing skills enchanted the judges, all four of which offered her to enter their respective teams. Al Jazeera reported that Ibtissem had made history, being the first contestant to perform on The Voice France with her head covered.
But just a few hours later, some viewers, curious to learn more about the talented singer, discovered some surprising posts on her Facebook profile.
After the jihadist massacre that took place in July of 2016 in Nice, in the south of France, killing 86 people, the singer wrote that she did not believe it was possible that the terrorist had carried his ID with him during the attack.
In October of the same year, when two Islamist terrorist killed a 85-year-old priest in a church in Normandie, Ibtissem wrote: “The real terrorists are our government.”
Many people in France, including some representatives of the far-right National Front, have been protesting against the television channel, TF1, asking to remove Ibtissem from the competition. Although at first the broadcaster remained quiet about the matter, on Tuesday evening a representative finally spoke about the incident.
“We discovered the messages Sunday, as the general public. We wanted to study the situation intelligently and not to make hasty decisions without having all the elements,” TF1 explained, as reported by the Jewish website Le Monde Juif. The channel added that they are aware that they cannot “keep in the program a person who makes remarks against the law of the Republic.”
Ibtissem, on her end, was quick to respond to the critics, tweeting: “I was born in Besançon, I love France, I love my country. I condemn terrorism with the utmost firmness.” Later, she added: “I preach a message of love, peace and tolerance.”