French President Macron Snaps Photo With Youth Flipping Off Camera

French President Emmanuel Macron has faced down a new controversy surrounding his image, after he snapped a photo with a young man and his friend who flipped off the camera.

The French leader was on a Saturday visit to the Caribbean island of St. Martin, which is a division of France, to visit those impacted by last year's hurricanes and push for faster reconstruction, France 24 reported. While there, he made an impromptu visit to the home of a young man who had recently been released from prison.

After the 40-year-old leader admonished the young French citizen to change his ways, saying his "mother deserves better," he posed for a photo with him and a friend. However, the shirtless friend decided to flip off the camera. Far-right political opponent Marine Le Pen viewed the image as disgraceful, quickly moving to attack her rival.

"We no longer find words to express our indignation," the politician, who has previously faced hate speech charges and was recently required to undergo a psychiatric examination by a French court, said in a tweet. "France certainly does not deserve that. It's unforgivable!"

Macron pushed back, however, defending himself against his former presidential rival's criticism.

"Marine Le Pen is the far right, and the far fight is not the people. I am president of the republic, and I will leave the people to no one," the president said, Euro News reported, also arguing that he supports "all" the French republic's children, regardless of their backgrounds or past actions

Other photos of the meeting show Macron embracing the shirtless friend and speaking in a friendly manner with both youths. In another image, one of the young men is holding up a phone to take a selfie with the French leader.

Valérie Boyer, a member of parliament from the right-wing Republicans, also critiqued Macron's actions. "You must behave properly. You're not called Manu (diminutive of Emmanuel), you're called Mr. President," according to The Telegraph.

Others saw the photo-op as an effort by Macron to fix his image, as he has been dubbed the "president of the rich." Increasingly, he has been viewed as disconnected from the realities facing ordinary French citizens.

Last month, the head of state drew fresh criticism after a video of him brushing aside an unemployed man's complaints went viral. During the encounter, Macron suggested the man was simply not looking hard enough for work and argued that he could find a job by simply "crossing the street."

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French president Emmanuel Macron meets inhabitants of Quartier Orleans, on September 29 on the French Caribbean island of St. Martin, during a trip in the French West Indies, one year after Hurricanes Irma and Maria damaged the Island. ELIOT BLONDET/AFP/Getty Images

Macron has also been mocked for scolding a teenager who addressed him by his nickname earlier this year, as well as for ordering 1,200 plates at a cost of hundreds of thousands of euros from a high-end producer. Last August, it was also reported that Macron had spent about $30,000 on makeup during his first three months in office.

The president faced and survived two no-confidence votes in parliament at the end of July as well, after his former chief bodyguard was filmed hitting a male protester and wrestling a woman to the ground. The incident occurred in May, and the man now faces charges of assault and impersonating a police officer. He was initially only suspended for two weeks but was fired in July following significant public backlash.

As a result, the French president's approval rating has dropped dramatically. Toward the end of September, only 29 percent of those polled said they feel satisfied with his leadership.

French President Macron Snaps Photo With Youth Flipping Off Camera | World