French President Emmanuel Macron was caught on camera Wednesday saying workers protesting his economic policies should “stop stirring up sh*t” and get a job instead.
Macron visited a struggling car parts plant in south-west France with workers facing the possibility of lay offs protesting outside the factory. The president was told that another plant 93 miles away was looking for workers as he discussed clashes between police and protestors.
“There are some who’d be better off seeing if they could get a job there rather than stirring up shit,” Macron said in the recording. “Some of them have got the qualifications to do it.”
Opposition lawmakers called out Macron for having an elitist attitude. Florian Philippot, formerly a senior member of the populist National Front party, said in a tweet that Macron has “contempt” for low-income workers. Hard-left politician Clementine Autain used similar language.
“It shows a great class contempt,” she said, according to Reuters. “He can’t stop coming out with unfair comments targeting the masses.”
Macron has taken a lot of heat after introducing a reform package that will soften labor restrictions and take powers away from unions. A series of mass protests have taken place across the country and major unions have gone on strike.
The newly-elected president has not backed down despite widespread outcry. He promised to not “yield anything, either to the lazy, the cynics or the extremes” during a visit to Greece in early September.
Macron later clarified that he used the word “lazy” with the intention of “moving the country forward.”
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