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His photo falsely associated with a murderer in several media

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Abitibian Jean-Philippe Coutu noted with horror that his photo was associated with articles concerning another Jean-Philippe Coutu, accused of murder in Estrie.

  • Martin Guindon (View profile)Martin Guindon

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Jean-Philippe Coutu, a man from Rouyn-Noranda, experiences hours of anguish after being falsely associated in several media with a murder that occurred in 2022 in Estrie. At least eight media outlets used his Facebook profile photo, identifying him as Jean-Philippe Coutu found not criminally responsible for a murder on Wednesday.

M. Coutu still finds it hard to believe what is happening to him. Members of his extended family are in Florida and informed him Thursday that they had seen his photo in an article in the Journal de Québecconcerning another Jean-Philippe Coutu, accused of second degree murder against Jocelyne Lessard in Stukely-Sud, during the summer of 2022. Then, he found the same photo in a TVA Nouvelles text.

In both cases, the 37-year-old Abitibien managed to have the photo removed from the articles quite quickly. In the evening, a colleague of his partner saw the same photo in an article in La Tribune of Sherbrooke, always associated with the same legal case. The same article was published in the five other Coops de l'information media outlets, including Le Soleil from Quebec. He asked the newspapers and the reporter to remove the photo, which was done Friday morning.

At this point, I don't know if there are still any in other media or not. I spent Thursday trying to see if it continues to spread or not. And it's the same thing today. It creates a lot of anxiety.

A quote from Jean-Philippe Coutu

“He’s a murderer. It's not like my photo was used in an article that associated me with someone who did something stupid or something not serious. “It's obviously very serious,” mentions Mr. Coutu, who also gave an interview to the show À vaille le retour (New window) at this topic.

The Rouynorandian does not know how many people were able to see his photo during the twenty hours it was in certain publications. But he fears being falsely associated with the murderer by people and suffering harassment or threats.

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In Rouyn-Noranda, Jean-Philippe Coutu wonders what recourse he has since his image was falsely associated with news that did not concern him.

The victim's family must have seen my photo. I don’t know, maybe they had already seen the other Jean-Philippe Coutu in person. They might have been able to tell the difference. I've no idea. I don't want to contact them to cause them distress either, emphasizes Jean-Philippe Coutu.

Jean-Philippe Coutu has a hard time explaining how such an error could have occurred, in more than one media outlet that does not belong to the same company, moreover. He was only told that it was an error. His Facebook page is private, so we only see a few photos, but we also read that he lives in Rouyn-Noranda.

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According to him, the fact that the photo could have been used in this way by several media without ever ensuring that it was the right person is an ethical violation. He believes that the media in question should at least clarify that the photo used in a first version of the article did not represent the right person. He is also considering his appeals.

I work for an employer where reputation is important. Our clients are international. They do audits to ensure they are working with the right people. It is certain that the fact that there is a person who has my name and who committed a murder, I cannot change it. But for my photo to be associated with him is something else. I have a good reputation. I did a lot of higher education. I have a good career, so for something like this to damage my reputation, it's not pleasant, he points out.

  • Martin Guindon (Consult the profile)Martin GuindonFollow
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116