French President Francois Hollande has attracted online mockery, and comparisons to the comedy character Borat, after appearing dressed in a traditional Kazakh fur hat and coat in an image posted on social media.
Hollande, who was on a visit to the Kazakh capital Asana when the photo was taken, apparently did not see the funny side of the incident, with officials from France's presidential headquarters, the Elysee Palace, forcing the photo's removal from the Instagram account of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, according to Al Arabiya.
Prior to Hollande's visit, Kazakh officials requested the French president's measurements, in order to prepare a tailored chapka hat and fur coat a traditional gift to visiting heads of state. According to the Telegraph, French officials complied, but insisted that no photos be taken.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls defended his superior, saying “From the outside, France is viewed sometimes with envy, and in any case with respect. … Everyone must realize that the president of the republic leads a great country and that great country, and its head of state also, must be respected by all,” according to AFP.
If the response on social media is any barometer, French citizens did not heed the Prime Minister's words.
François Hollande entre au musée Grévin ? Non, chez Borat. pic.twitter.com/m5bIfvUCaF
â€” Maurin Picard (@MaurinPicard) December 5, 2014
â€” Capu Patriote ن (@CapuPatriote) December 5, 2014
The Internet goes to work on yesterday's meeting between Hollande and Nazarbayev. pic.twitter.com/wDXLyPogy4
â€” Casey Michel (@cjcmichel) December 6, 2014