Harassment, insults, threats: in court, Jacques-Henri Eyraud recounts the trauma experienced in front of OM supporters

27 May 2024 / Thibaud Vézirian

A very well-attended start to the trial. The former president of Olympique de Marseille faced his harassers for the first time. Or rather cyberstalkers. OM supporters hiding behind their screen when insulting, lynching or threatening Jacques-Henri Eyraud with death in 2021. Tension and emotions.

Sometimes there are stories that we prefer to bury in order to move forward. Jacques-Henri Eyraud must face his demons more than 3 years after the events. This Monday, in front of the Paris judicial court, “JHE” had to listen again to the horrible messages posted by certain supporters of theOM against him: “dirty Parisian”, “ we will have your skin "," This is going to end badly for you " or " still let's hang him, this son of a dog ».

These messages were posted on X (formerly Twitter) between the end of 2020 and March 2021, while the OM boat was rocking very hard: between lack of liquidity, poorly strengthened team, leaving coach and poor results. With the culmination of the attack on the Commanderie (Saturday January 30, 2021), when a demonstration by supporters ended up degenerating. The 11 defendants are men aged 25 to 52, they were not all present at the hearing.

« These are serious words. Let's not trivialize them », Recalled Master Olivier Baratelli, lawyer for the former president of theOlympique de Marseille. Insulting messages, death threats… but also caricatures and distorted photos. We can see Jacques-Henri Eyraud decapitated or the body under a guillotine: a process of lynching and dehumanization. The pack effect too, young people incapable of realizing the harm they were doing...

« Do you have any regrets about having led OM? », then questions the president of the 10th correctional chamber. JHE has not the slightest hesitation: “ The answer is no ". Continuing: “ I have love this club, I loved this city "To Marseille. If he will not be able to convince all the Marseillais on this, he “the Parisian”, he at least has the merit of being sincere and touching.

In a black suit, Jacques-Henri Eyraud, in a strict tone, reveals his thoughts: “ Everything was done to make me leave my position and break down ". Words spoken with a lot of emotion.

His trauma is also that of his family. The death threats affected everyone, starting with his teenage daughter, who was in court today.

The investigation identified around a hundred people authoring hate messages. Only eleven of them could be identified behind their pseudonyms. A problem that affects many people around the world. A real scourge.

During testimonies, defendants often explain their deplorable attitude by excesses of “ anger ». Michaël A., 41 years old, confirms that he did not want “ not the death of this gentlemanr. Je feel shameful ". Very touched, he asked permission to turn to Jacques-Henri Eyraud to apologize: “ The words have overtaken my thoughts ". Better late than never.

Even if on social networks, apologies often arrive very quickly after the slightest confrontation with the target. Some are actually just looking for a moment of attention… Or to let off steam. Trial continues this Tuesday.