Controversy and Resilience: Charline Vanhoenacker’s Unforeseen Absence Amidst Media Storm

After a period of intense controversy sparked by comedian Guillaume Meurice’s criticized column targeting Benjamin Netanyahu—where he referred to the Israeli Prime Minister as a “Nazi without a foreskin”—Charline Vanhoenacker, his co-host, is unexpectedly absent from the airwaves this weekend.

Confirming her absence to Le Parisien, Charline explained, “I was advised by my doctor to take some rest,” providing no further details. The scale of the controversy seems to be the cause of her sudden fatigue. A source close to her revealed, “Since the controversy erupted 18 days ago, Charline has been under multiple pressures. Her doctor recommended some days of rest. She has received support from management and will be back as soon as possible.”

This development follows a week-long break during the All Saints’ Day holidays for Charline and her team. However, the hiatus was far from tranquil, as Guillaume Meurice’s controversial commentary before the break triggered a national outcry, prompting even the President of the Senate, Gérard Larcher, to react.

The situation escalated when both Guillaume Meurice and Charline Vanhoenacker received death threats, leading Inter to organize their program, traditionally presented in public, behind closed doors. Security measures were extended for an additional week.

Informed midweek about the probable absence of its presenter, the station’s management considered continuing the program without her. However, given the sensitive context, the decision was made against it. On Saturday at 7 p.m., a rerun of “Bistroscopie” featuring Jacques Attali from September will be broadcasted. The following day, starting from 6 p.m., radio listeners will hear a replay of “Grand Dimanche Soir” recorded in Bordeaux a few weeks ago, replacing the usual live program.

Despite a turbulent start to the week, the situation seemed to improve for Charline and her team. Audiences released by Médiamétrie on Thursday confirmed the show’s rapid establishment, gaining 120,000 followers (totaling 675,000) compared to the previous year’s slot.

On the same evening, Adèle Van Reeth, the station director, stood by her columnist amid the death threats. She emphasized, “You don’t fire a comedian for a bad joke made at a bad time. It would be harmful. What does it mean to defend freedom of expression if, the very minute something shocks us, we choose to get rid of the person who said it? Freedom of expression is not an empty word! It is in these moments that she is put to the test,” in an interview with Le Parisien.

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