This Friday, July 29, the front page of Liberation looks like the poster for a reality TV program. In front of the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai, three reality TV personalities keep Booba (real name Élie Yaffa) company with the magic of a photomontage. The daily has decided to return to a quarrel born on social networks and which has turned into a real judicial soap opera.
@Booba denounces the business of influencers
information @libe : reports and two criminal complaints have been filed, targeting the business and scams of several social media stars including @MagaliBerdah. Our investigation https://t.co/IiRVwwZS5L
— Liberation (@libe) July 28, 2022
A fake watch sets fire to the powder
And initially, the object of the discord is none other than… a fake watch. The story begins in December 2021 when influencer and scoop hunter Marc Blata attacks rapper Booba. The reality TV candidate, based in Dubai since 2019, launches the rumor that “The Duke of Boulogne” would have worn during a shoot a fake watch from the luxury watchmaker Richard Mille. The fuse is lit: Booba on his big white horse is on the heels of the influencer and his cryptocurrency and trading business. Because it is partly thanks to these activities that Marc Blata, and his wife Nadé, also an influencer, ensure a comfortable lifestyle under the palm trees of Dubai.
Influencers with a very lucrative business
To achieve this, the blogger bludgeons his millions of followers daily with his trader 2.0 services. Between two stories where he displays his luxurious life on the other side of the world, Marc Blata invites his subscribers to join him on a messaging loop in which he provides the best advice for placing money in foreign currencies. But before being part of the “lucky ones”, you have to invest the sum of 500 euros by clicking on the link knowingly integrated into your video. Nothing illegal so far. Except that, according to Booba and according to the testimonies gathered by the newspaper Liberation, the people who invest lose in a snap of the fingers the totality of the sums paid. “I found myself dry eating pasta and rice every day” says a delivery driver who saw his 2,000 euros go up in smoke in the influencer’s business.
Questionable resale practices
After investigating the activities of Marc Blata, Booba discovers that he is not the only social media influencer to fool his community. On his Twitter account, the rapper challenges other colleagues like Dylan Thiry or Maeva Ghennam, who have partly based their fortunes on partnerships with drop-shipping sites.
.@Maevaghennam1 Fraudulent dropshipping is good but you have to go to the manicure because that’s not going well!!! The product you are promoting costs 2 euros, you sell it above 30 euros and the packages do not arrive. Patience… pic.twitter.com/sxo1b7F4tq
—Booba (@booba) July 20, 2022
This increasingly widespread sales system consists of selling more expensive products, often of poor quality, purchased on Chinese sites such as Alibaba or Aliexpress. Make-up, clothes, hair straighteners, shoes, gadgets: products of all kinds are presented by influencers who use the methods of teleshopping sellers. “Beyond having no talent, promoting the culture of emptiness, debility, and not paying their taxes in France, they fool citizens – especially teenagers – by selling them crap” , confides the rapper to the newspaper Liberation.
The Booba-Magali Berdah squabble turns sour
But the main target of the artist is none other than Magali Berdah, manager of the biggest influencers whom he accuses of being behind all this trickery. Openly targeted on social networks by the former member of Lunatic, the “popess of reality TV” recently obtained the suspension of the instagram account of Elie Yaffa, alias Booba, while no influencer account has for l moment is subject to sanction. “It’s a crazy thing, the deletion of my Instagram account. I denounce the scammers and they close my account instead of preventing them from stealing”protests the rapper in the columns of the daily. “The whistleblower stature that Booba is building only serves to mask his dark inclinations for cyberbullying.” considers for its part a source close to Magali Berdah.
From networks to courts
After launching the hashtag #influvoleurs, the interpreter of pit bull opened the “Influvoleurs2022” mailbox to collect testimonies from victims of this system. “It’s already well advanced, we have hundreds of cases, young people, mothers. It’s solid, there’s big” suggests the artist who launched legal actions. Marc Blata and Shauna Events, Magali Berdah’s company, are the subject of two reports to the Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention. The rapper’s lawyer, Master Klugman, has also filed two complaints against Shauna Events and against X, for “deceptive commercial practices” and “organized gang fraud”.
For her part, Magali Berdah also filed two complaints against the rapper. One for defamation and the other aimed at his activism on social networks which will be at the origin of the opening of a preliminary investigation.
The file, which has gone far beyond the virtual borders of social networks, has recently found its way into the corridors of the most important state institutions. On July 19, the Ministry of the Interior had called for the greatest vigilance in the face of online scams, recalling, as reported by Liberation, the existence “a national anti-scam task force”.