A debate in France's National Assembly got out of hand Tuesday night when a French parliament member began clucking like a chicken during a female colleague's speech.
Philippe Le Ray, a deputy in France's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), interrupted the Green Party's Véronique Massonneau several times as she delivered her remarks on pension reform. Footage from the session (seen above) shows Massonneau becoming agitated as she is forced to ask her colleague to stop. "I am not a hen," she exclaims, before continuing with her address.
After the incident, National Assembly head Claude Bartolone called for a brief suspension of the session. When members returned to the chamber, Bartolone denounced Le Ray's behavior.
"There are things I will never accept in this chamber," Bartolone said, according to L'Express. "One of them is deputies pretending to be birds when a member of parliament is speaking. It is not acceptable."
According to local reports, Le Ray may have been under the influence of alcohol during the session. However, Massonneau believes that the UMP deputy made the noises not due to inebriation but because he was mocking her as a woman.
"I think that he was drunk. But it was not because he was drunk," Massonneau explained to Europe 1 after the incident, "it was sexist."
Massonneau is not alone in her notion that the clucking was a discriminatory act. Once footage of the session was widely circulated online, Le Ray's action ignited a sexism debate in the country.
The day after the incident, female members of France's Socialist Party walked out of parliament to protest the discriminatory behavior. French politicians from various political parties also spoke to French media and took to Twitter to voice their disdain for the action of their colleague in parliament.
Le Ray was called before the Conference of Presidents of the National Assembly Wednesday. In an unanimous decision, the board -- charged with setting the daily agenda of the assembly -- fined Le Ray 1,378 Euros (about $1,800) for interrupting a parliamentary session.
While France elected a record number of women to parliament in 2012 (155 of its 577 members are female), it seems some of their male colleagues still have a lot to learn.