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French President François Hollande's personal hairdresser gets six-figure salary

Twitter users are criticizing Hollande's 'shampoo socialism' with the hashtag #CoiffeurGate

Avneet Dhillon - CBC News

July 14, 2017

French president Francois Hollande is facing controversy after local media revealed how much his full-time hairdresser gets paid. Twitter users decided to offer alternatives to Hollande's current look. (Benoit Tessier/Reuters/Twitter)

It may not look like it, but the president of France has one expensive head of hair.

The six-figure salary François Hollande pays his professional hairstylist, whose contract was revealed on Wednesday by French satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchainé, is roughly the same amount paid to government ministers. 

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Le Canard Enchainé reports that Hollande's hairdresser is paid nearly 10,000 euros — more than $14,000 — per month. The newspaper is known for its investigative stories as well as its satire. It published a copy of the hairdresser's five-year contract, which began when Hollande entered office in 2012.​

The contract was apparently made public during a legal case against Closer magazine, which published a story in 2014 that revealed the president was having an affair with French actress Julie Gayet.

Hollande was elected after campaigning on a promise that he would be a "normal" president running a frugal government. A Parisian hairstylist, identified only as Olivier B., was hired to work full time on Hollande's hair and has been employed since he was inaugurated. 

"For a normal president, [Hollande] doesn't have a normal hairdresser," French politician Sébastien Huygue reportedly said

The ensuing controversy has been dubbed #CoiffeurGate on Twitter, coiffeur meaning hairdresser in French. Many users mocked the president for paying someone so much to work with so little. 

Some tweeted: "the guy barely needs a comb" and "we elected a president not a king," while others revelled in the chance to offer some alternative hairstyles to the follicly challenged state leader. 

One Twitter user's description of #CoiffeurGate was "when corruption creates the funniest meme ever."

French Twitter users said they wanted to offer options that would justify the hairdresser's salary. 

It's hard to imagine something making Hollande even less popular — he's had consistently poor approval ratings — but this news has left French taxpayers with more questions about their president's spending decisions. 

Government spokesman Stephane Le Foll attempted to defend the president's spending. 

"Everyone gets haircuts," Le Foll reportedly said. "This hairdresser had to abandon his salon and he's on tap 24 hours a day."

If Hollande wants to boost his approval rating, maybe he should try out one of these hairstyles, courtesy of Twitter user GuillaumeTC

via GIPHY

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Avneet Dhillon

Avneet Dhillon is a multi-platform journalist based in Toronto. She is currently working as an Associate Producer at The National and CBC Radio's As It Happens.

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