This story has been updated
The international feminist group FEMEN, known for its topless protests, has issued a video in which three members of the organization appear to be kidnapping a priest in the middle of the day from the streets of a European city.
In the video, released by the group’s branch in France, the clergyman appears to be forcibly shoved into a car by topless militants wearing balaclavas.
On the FEMEN International Facebook page, a message has been posted claiming the attack as the work of FEMEN and demanding that the upcoming Pope Francis’s visit to the European Parliament be cancelled in exchange for the abducted clergyman’s release. The group goes on to accuse the Vatican of “criminal religious occupation of Europe” and then assures the public that the priest will be treated well:
We promise to treat the hostage well and provide him with everything that is necessary while he is in our hands/breasts. Unlike from religion, feminism is peaceful!
However, Marian Atidoresei, editor-in-chief of AVfM Romania, who alerted AVfM News Europe about this, says that the video looks fake:
It may very well be for real, but it just seems fake to me. But regardless, it’s still a nasty stunt by FEMEN – not that this is surprising since FEMEN has gotten the European public accustomed with nasty stunts. Also, if the video is not fake, how can they claim feminism is peaceful while kidnapping people from the streets?
It is not known where exactly this alleged abduction took place or the name of the priest. Also, the quality of the video casts further doubt that the abduction is real.
This stunt from FEMEN comes just a week after FEMEN activists simulated anal sex with crucifixes in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican and in the context in which another FEMEN activist awaits sentencing in a French court for yet another stunt at a French church.
AVfM News Europe and other media outlets have tried multiple times to get in contact with someone within FEMEN to comment on the video but no success so far.
Updates will be posted as the events unfold.
Update Nov. 22, midnight CET: The scene of the kidnapping has been confirmed to be taking place in front of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in the northern suburbs of Paris. Father Pierre-Hervé Grosjean, a priest of Versailles and the general secretary of the Commission on Ethics and Politics for the diocese, posted a note on Twitter denouncing the Femen video as both “insulting for true victims of kidnapping and an encouragement to violence.”
There are, so far, no reports of any priest missing in Paris, which seems to add to the view that this has been a stunt.