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Flamboyant candidate for Paris town hall hailed for dignified response to query on autism

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Cédric Villani, the eccentric maths genius running for the Paris mayors office, was this week lauded for his bold and dignified response to persistent rumours suggesting he has autism. Although Villani said he has never been tested for the spectrum disorder, he firmly pushed back at the notion that autism would be a problem: “what would it change anyway?”.

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In the run-up to next years local elections in France, Villani – a ruling party lawmaker and mayoral candidate who is just as famed for his extraordinary maths skills as he is for his flamboyant Willy Wonka-styled looks – has in recent months been increasingly targeted by internet trolls who claim he must be suffering from some sort of autism disorder.

“How many percent of autism does Cédric Villani have?,” a Twitter user going under the handle @romanicheur wrote, while another tweeted that Villani would become “Pariss first autistic mayor” should he be elected in the March vote.

Are you an autist?

As the questions surrounding Villanis intriguing character have intensified, a journalist from the daily French news and entertainment television program “Quotidien” on Wednesday decided to ask the talented mathematician outright: “Are you personally affected by autism?”

Villani, who was dressed in a three-piece suit and wearing his signature spider brooch, remained fully composed and replied: “I dont know, I have never been tested, and Ive never felt the need to be tested for it, but what would it change anyway?”

Aside from his work in parliament, Villani has also carried out several consultancy missions for President Emmanuel Macrons centrist government, including the creation of a national strategy plan for research into artificial intelligence. In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal, a prize often referred to as the Nobel Prize of mathematics.

Following the Quotidien broadcast, social media went wild with reactions to Villanis response, with the majority of users hailing him for underscoring that autism shouldnt be viewed as the obstacle it is often made out to be.

“Are your enemies trying the same prevention method on you as they are with young Greta?,” Twitter user @jdflaysakier wrote, referring to 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg whose Asperger diagnosis is often used by climate change deniers in a bid to invalidate her arguments. “Your response is full of dignity, a word which some people have forgot the meaning of,” he continued.

@KaraNoyak tweeted that “theres nothing shocking about talking about autism. This clarification was therefore necessary.”

Trolls 'have failed'

But some were angered by the journalist having asked the question at all, sayingRead More – Source