In an interview on Canal+ on March 20, when Jacques Cheminade was asked why he was for prohibiting violent video games, he mentioned the bloodbath in Toulouse which had profoundly shocked the country. "Very often," he said, "such mass killings are associated with violent video games that people have seen or heard. It's not the cause, but it creates the climate."
AFP immediately put out a communique with that quote, which was widely picked up by the media and went viral on the Internet, provoking freakouts. The release also quotes from Cheminade's program, where he proposes to "prohibit violent video games implying multiplication of crimes and sexual abuse."
On the evening of March 22, AFP then published a chronological profile of the young killer, Mohamed Merah. Under June 2010, it says "a family filed suit after he [Merah—the madman who killed 3 Muslim French paratroopers, a rabbi, and 3 Jewish children—ed.] forced a young man to watch videos of torture, and hit the child's sister when she reprimanded him.... A young man who presented himself to AFP as one of his friends described him as 'having a passion for video games about war' and 'weapons', and 'showing his friends shocking videos of the Israel-Palestine conflict'."
The Cheminade campaign announced that the candidate would be putting out a new statement on the issue.