Two months after the jihadist attack in which staff at the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo were murdered, a split has emerged in the newsroom over the nearly 30 million euros received since the killings.
Eleven staff members have called for all employees to become equal shareholders in the magazine, setting them up for a battle with the current management.
Charlie Hebdo is currently 40 per cent owned by the parents of Charb, the former director of the magazine who was killed in the January 7 attacks, 40 per cent by cartoonist Riss, who is recovering in hospital from shoulder wounds and 20 per cent by joint manager Eric Portheault.
But one of the Charlie Hebdo journalists, Laurent Leger, stunned the editorial conference on Wednesday by announcing the creation of a group to open talks on an equal division of the magazine’s capital.
The group includes Patrick Pelloux, a Charlie Hebdo columnist who provided one of the most powerful images from a Paris march against terrorism four days after the attacks when he fell sobbing into the arms of President Francois Hollande.
Until the attacks, Charlie Hebdo was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy and was selling only around 30,000 copies a week.
But a “survivors’ issue” published a week after the attacks flew off the shelves and ended up selling seven million copies.
In addition, the magazine was also inundated with donations as it became a symbol of free speech and the Twitter hashtag #jesuischarlie became known worldwide.
The attack was the first wave in a series of killings to rock the French capital. Amedy Coulibaly shot dead a policewoman the day after and then killed four Jews in a kosher supermarket.