French politician mocked for posting allegedly doctored photograph of himself climbing mountain

A prominent French centre-Right politician is being mocked on social media for posting a picture of himself climbing a mountain which critics claim is doctored to make the slope appear steeper.

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Eric Woerth, a former budget minister under President Nicolas Sarkozy who currently heads the National Assembly’s Finance Commission, has rejected claims that he deliberately changed the angle in a photograph to make his climb look more challenging.

Mr Woerth, 63, was defended by Jean-Franck Charlet, a mountain guide who accompanied him on the Aiguille d’Argentière, a peak in the Mont Blanc massif.

“This photo is 100 per cent real, even if the 45-degree slope appears a little steeper than it is in reality,” Mr Charlet tweeted.

Critics had pointed out that two people in the background appear to be walking upright at a 90-degree angle from the mountain. Others commented that Mr Woerth’s zip was at a strange angle if he was climbing on such a steep-looking slope.

When the mountain guide backed up Mr Woerth, Twitter users unleashed an avalanche of derision. “I’m the glacier and I can confirm that Mr Woerth climbed me,” one wrote. Another added: “I’m the green cord and I helped with this climb.”

One user posted a picture with an image of Mr Woerth in his climbing gear superimposed on a photo of the Moon landing.

Mr Charlet, however, said the slope on which Mr Woerth was pictured “is not easy, it’s a challenging location that has been the site of a number of accidents.” He said Mr Woeth was “an excellent climber” who had ascended difficult peaks including the Eiger and the Matterhorn.

Eric Woerth (left) is a keen climber Credit:
Julien Mattia/NurPhoto via Getty Images

“I am astonished that a simple photograph has attracted so many critical and ironic comments from internet users and climbers, comments widely taken up by our great national media… who showed a lack of professionalism by not first trying to contact the person who took the photo in order to establish the truth,” Mr Charlet wrote.

Undeterred, one Twitter user changed the angle of the photograph so that Mr Woerth’s zip fastener was shown dangling vertically “in accordance with gravity”. He commented: “This is immediately less impressive!! Politicians are appalling!!”

Bruno Questel, an MP from President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party, La République En Marche, tweeted: “Dear colleague, I now better understand your inability to comprehend the graphs showing the improvement of our economy as you seem to confuse horizontal and vertical.”   

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