It is never out of cheerfulness that the team of Inside Pageant decides to blacklist a pageant. It is true that for years, the Mister France pageant has been the subject of many rumors, many controversies… giving a “sulphurous” image to this beauty contest. As the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire, but no solid evidence had come to us until the team decided to actually investigate after credible testimony.
To fully understand the blacklist of Mister France, let’s take a look back at our archives.
Mister France is the oldest French competition for men. Brand created by Michel Le Parmentier in 1993, he sold it to Rachel Quesney in 2001 who developed it into a competition as we know it today and will bring it greater notoriety and especially media exposure with several finals that will have the honors of the small screen especially on TF1 (first French channel) in 2001 and 2003 then on NRJ 12 from 2010 to 2011.
After years of hard work, Rachel Quesney decided to sell this business and this brand in September 2011 to the publishing house, Hugo et Cie, which wanted to continue the development of this competition, but will put it to sleep for 3 years without real reasons. Under the aegis of Sophie Charlotte Orlowska, the competition resumed in 2015 under the slogan: The Man changes, Mister France too.
Unable to develop the brand and following a refocusing of the company on its core business, that is to say books, the Hugo et Cie company sold the competition on November 22, 2017 to the company Hightop Studio, which had the idea of developing the competition into a reality TV program. But, nothing lives on, even the national final originally scheduled for March 2018 never took place. In the meantime, the brand continued to live thanks to various regional committees that continue to organize local, departmental and even regional elections. But without a national edition and an international perspective, it was difficult.
Faced with the lack of interest of the chains for this brand, the company Hightop studio chose very quickly to sell the brand to Deixonne on January 24, 2019, who had wanted to acquire it for years. He had offered to resume the contest when Rachel Quesney decided to retire in 2011. Finally, a source from Hugo et Cie confirmed to us that Deixonne on many occasions offered to buy the competition back from them without success.
Deixonne has a real attachment to Mister France, since he began his career there by becoming a delegate for the Occitanie region under the presidency of Rachel Quesney. He then developed a passion for men’s competitions. Rachel explained to me that she had to withdraw her delegation because it had damaged the image of the competition by organizing an inappropriate photo shoot of the candidates. She concluded our interview by adding that she was not surprised by the stories that had been running about the competition since it was resumed in 2019 by François Deixonne.
BAD BUZZ TO EXIST?
It must be recognized that since its resumption in 2019, the competition has suffered from a bad image, bordering on sulphurous. We could wonder if it was not a strategy of the organization to get people talking about the pageant and its comittee. So, we investigated following the accumulation of various reproaches, various accusations such as suspicions of cheating, favoritism, omnipresence in the decisions of the president of Mister France, but also problems of behavior of the latter.
Inappropriate speech and behavior by the president of Mister France?
As early as the first final on January 11, 2020, suspicions of cheating and favoritism arose. Everyone remembers seeing on social media and in the media, a video of a candidate, Mister Centre-Val de Loire, Alexis Villain, burning his scarf while making serious accusations against the committee. Up again, the unfortunate candidate denounced in particular the behavior of the Mister France committee which would have made sexual proposals to certain candidates in exchange for their victory.
Even if the president of the committee refuted his accusations, many candidates of the 2021 and 2022 editions confirmed to us that we had to “go under the desk” to advance far in the competition.
What about the Instagram live the day before the election, under the animation of Samir Bensz (instagram username)?
For an hour, the latter asked these gentlemen to undress and complimenting in a somewhat daring way the physique of each boy. No reaction to this awkward live from the president, to absent subscribers or great voyeur. It must be said that the former Breton delegate told us that François liked to see boys in boxer shorts even when it was not necessary.
But these requests for favours are not the only reproaches we can make of the president of this committee, since Mohammed* assured us that François had reproached him for his swarthy complexion, asking him a few hours before the regional final if the latter had seen the last two winners of his region who were blond with blue eyes quite the opposite. Adding that in his region, people did not want a swarthy person to represent them, because it did not correspond to the region… Shocking comments that can be qualified according to the lawyers we asked as racist comments.
The same evening, Mr. DEIXONNE made racist remarks towards certain candidates by comparing them to female dogs who finish food leftovers. This is not the first time that he has ▶
mentioned racist remarks.
It is not tolerable for a competition supervisor who must be an example for candidates in order to communicate to them the values specific to his pageant.
During our interview with Gianni, Mister Universel Occitanie 2021, he explained to us that this contest had given him a bad image of the pageants, giving him the impression that he had been used for the committee to make money on his back. He then explained to us that the organization knew that he was the happy father of a little girl from the beginning, but that he had allowed him to compete without difficulty. It was only an hour before the regional final, that he was told that he could never win because of his parternity.
In this case, why did you allow him to compete especially since in the rules of this competition, it is clearly specified that the candidate must “be single, unmarried, unpacsed and not ensuring any paternity”? We can then wonder if the committee was not only interested in the community of the young man who supported him en masse by paying many surcharged SMS, but above all what is the purpose of this regulation?
As early as 2020, in his video, Alexis Villain denounced a problem with the rules of the competition, in particular concerning the votes of the public, their preponderance… In this regard, the 2020 rules of the competition were very vague and malleable that could change until the last moment. Third in the online votes, this place was in theory to secure Alexis a place among the finalists, but the rules were changed at the last minute by the committee. “The voting system was unacceptable. There was no judicial officer to control. Online voting only accounted for 20% of the total between the public vote in the room and that of the eight jurors. We knew that ten minutes before,” he explained in his video.
The absence of a judicial officer raises questions. Indeed, the article L. 121-38 of the French Law obliges the organizers to file “the rules of operations (…) with a ministerial officer”, i.e. a judicial officer, who is the guardian and guarantor of the regularity of a contest or competition by keeping in his office the rules of operations as well as a copy of the documents addressed to the public. However, at Mister France, it was impossible in 2020 to know the name of the bailiff in charge of the competition. We can tell ourselves that they have forgotten…
But the problem of public votes resurfaced the following year. Under pressure from the public and regional delegates, the SMS vote takes place up to 60% of the final score, but always without any external control by a judicial officer and without ever having the results communicated despite numerous requests to obtain the final count of SMS votes. The only one to have known of these results is the president of the committee, François Deixonne. Two regional directors expressed their doubts to us and implied that the president would have stopped the results when it favoured the candidates. One even went so far as to say that the results would have been falsified, but there is no evidence that allows us to verify this fact, since it is impossible to get SMS votes by candidates.
In 2022, the regulation changes again (three times in three years anyway!) andin my opinion, the president invents an ingenious strategy to minimize the preponderance of SMS votes and not be subject to any criticism from candidates or delegates. In the 2022 regulations that we were able to obtain, these votes only bring bonus points to the candidates. So, if you get 10% of the votes, it will bring you 10 points. What is the point in having the public vote if they have no weight in the final decision? It is certain that this method does not really encourage the public to get involved in the contest and makes it seem like they are just there to make money.
You will tell me that candidates only have to read the rules before entering the competition. Certainly, but here again, Mister France does not respect the law. Indeed, the latter must be available to anyone making the request. According to the Consumer Code, it is customary for the payment to be addressed to anyone who requests it and to meet the requirements of free shipping will be done without obligation of expense. The regulations shall also specify the address to which this request may be sent as well as the name of the bailiff with whom the said regulation has been filed.” But, still no name of judicial officer, in the 2021 and 2022 regulations that we have in our possession and available on the committee’s website (www.mister-france.com).
Without the presence of a judicial officer, the rules can change until the last moment… but it’s not legal!
PREPONDERANCE OF THE PRESIDENT?
Faced with this omnipresence of the president and his weight in the final decision, in 2022, the delegates asked him to withdraw from the jury, which he accepted without any problem to their astonishment. But this president has more than one trick up his sleeve. He further amended the rules of the competition and allowed himself to give half of the points of the final mark. How? Simply by changing the scoring system for each candidate. In 2022, the committee opted for a score on 100 points distributed as follows:
- Jury – 30 points (10 points for elegance, 10 pts for eloquence during the interview, 10 pts for the parade in a swimsuit or boxer). The score assigned to each candidate corresponds to the average of the marks given by the 7 members of the jury.
- General Knowledge Test — 20 points
- President Score – 50 points This score is assigned by the president and only bu him. This score would reflect the candidate’s behaviour during the preparation week.
- Public vote – Bonus point
With 50 points awarded by the president, half of the final score, the latter keeps a hand on the final results, since he can modulate his marks according to the results of the general culture tests that he corrects himself and according to the SMS votes of which he is the only one to know on a daily basis.
In addition, what many candidates and delegates criticize is not obtaining any possible count of the final result, since Deixonne only communicates an Excel table not targeted by a judiciaire officer with an overall score without being able to obtain the details of each score to understand where they lost points.
In 2022, a young woman judicial officer was present on the scene, but she refused to communicate the results automatically referring to the president of the committee, François Deixonne. Besides, no official sheet as we can have on serious contests like Miss France has been released to the press. Even, our journalists could not get anything from the bailiff, which is astonishing.
SUSPICIONS OF FAVORITISM?
As early as 2020, suspicions of favoritism arose. Thus, candidate Alexis Villain explained that the winner Thomas Cornelus had been booted. It highlighted the privileged ties that Mister Occitanie Thomas Cornelus maintained with the organizer of the competition and owner of the Mister France brand, François Deixonne. According to the defeated candidate, a pistoning would not be ruled out, since Thomas Cornelus and François Deixonne “did not live far away” from each other, and “they knew each other well.”
In 2022, suspicions of favoritism are reborn, going so far as to tell us that the winner, Lenny Tabourel, was known in advance according the candidates and the delegates. ▶
A quick investigation highlighted the links between the winner and the president, which many delegates did not fail to do.
A message from the president commenting on a photo of Lenny in April 2021 proves this relationship: “we miss you”. These messages date from April 2021, 4 months of his regional election in August 2021.
So the suspicions weigh even more, when we discover that the title of Lenny has been tailor-made. There is no Mediterranean region in France, and even in the face of public questions, the answer does not allow suspicions to be extinguished.
It should be noted that the Mister France Méditérannée and Languedoc regions do not have a delegate. It is Deixonne in personne, president of the national committee who organizes and manages these regional elections. For the Mediterranean region, the organization is done with the same team as during the national (same choreographer, same presenter etc)
In addition, to add to these suspicions, Bilal Malek, Mister France 2021 and president of the jury during the regional election knew Lenny Tabourel before the election. We can question neutrality and objectivity in the regional election. Moreover, the rule is that the members of the selection board have no connection with the candidates.
These suspicions are accentuated when we discover the role of this young man during the week of preparation for the competition. It served as a link between the candidates and the committee, giving information to the various candidates about the events of the next day. He assumed the role of nanny throughout the week of preparation, as the majority of the candidates interviewed assured us.
Lenny had received during the week of preparation an anonymous message threatening him with revealing the rigging of the election. At his reception, he preferred to justify himself immediately to the candidates by explaining that it was false and that he did not know the president more than they did, whereas none of them had received this message. Why bring your comrades together to make this statement to them in this case, because it only created doubt in the minds of the candidates.
When Lenny was named the winner of the 2022 edition, the whole audience started booing. As our colleagues from M6 (French TV) noted, the surprise was total for the public, who did not understand this crowning achievement in front of the poor performance during the candidate’s interview. Our colleagues in their report also referred to this surprising result.
But that’s not all!
We remember that on social media, in 2020, Alexis Villain had already revealed: “And do not forget that the Corsican who finishes second is one of the sponsors of the Mister France contest. And that the singer in the show is one of their lol committee.” It is true that the delegate is a sponsor of the national competition and that his candidate always finishes in the top 5 since 2019.
I think that we must stop all this because too much evidence goes in the direction that the Mister France competition must absolutely clean up and relaunch itself with a new committee that would like to restore its letters of nobility.
Faced with this accumulation, the vast majority of regional delegates preferred to throw in the towel by stopping their relationship with Mister France’s committee and preferring to turn to healthier competitions with values of transparency and above all fairness between candidates.