Anti-racism campaigners say they are planning legal action against some private beaches, bars, and restaurants in the French Riviera after a hidden camera sting highlighted discrimination, according to media reports.
SOS Racisme carried out an undercover operation in Juan-les-Pins, Aix-en-Provence Antibes, and Marseille by sending couples of different ethnicities to exclusive venues to monitor the reception they were given, the Guardian reported.
Requests for sun loungers on beaches and tables at nightclubs and bars from white couples were granted, while couples of “North African appearance” or those with “foreign-sounding names” were rejected, the hidden camera footage showed.
“With an African-sounding name, the place was full. When I rang back and gave a French name, strangely enough, there were still places,” one of the participants in the experiment told Le Monde.
SOS Racisme has carried out several similar undercover operations since the 1990s, but this is the first time the group has focused on the Riviera.
“We have found discrimination can be based on clothing, the color of skin, the physical appearance, and the origin of the person,” Karima Es-slimani, from the organization's Nice branch, told France 3 television. “It’s unfair and intolerable living like this.”
The group is reported to be compiling a file to submit to lawyers.
“We’re working with pro-bono lawyers who need lots of details to take legal action against these places. They will also use this information to draw up annual reports outlining discrimination by area,” Paula Cornette of SOS Racisme said.
The situation was the result of a “clear failure” of public authorities in outlawing racial discrimination, said Dominique Sopo, the president of SOS Racisme.
He added that the organization’s findings would be sent to the police and local authorities. “We will be watching closely to see what legal action follows,” he added.