Strong brakes on the candidacy of the presidential party The Republic on the march! to the Paris Chamber: Emmanuel Macron’s favorite, Benjamin Griveaux, withdrew this Friday from the race, as a result of the release, the day before, of a sexual video sent to a woman with whom he had an extramarital relationship two years ago.
“This decision costs me, but my priorities are clear – my family is first,” said Griveaux, complaining of “more than a year of defamation, lies, anonymous attacks, disclosure of stolen private conversations and threats of death”.
The decision was precipitated with the dissemination of the video, multiplied quickly on social networks, yet the candidate presented, on Thursday, his program. “I am not willing to expose myself and my family any further, when all blows are now allowed. This goes too far.”
The opponents in the dispute, from the socialist candidate, Anne Hidalgo, to the suitor barred within The Republic in March! (REM!), Cédric Villani, called for “respect for people’s privacy” and condemned the “unworthy attack”.
In addition to the immediate political effects (REM! Is without a candidate for a month of the municipal elections, on March 15), the incident launches a discussion on the boundaries between the political fight and the reserve of the private life of its actors, which have been respected.
The revelations of the existence of a hidden daughter of former President François Miterrand, the fruit of a 32-year-old secret relationship with Art historian Anne Pingeot, just two years before he died (“” Paris Match “, November 10, 1994) , and the discreet “affair” between ex-president François Hollande and an actress (2014) were minor surprises, compared to what happened.
The dissemination of the images, on an electronic site significantly called “Pornopolitique”, is due to the Russian “activist” and “political artist” Piotr Pavlenski, who lives in Paris with the status of political refugee “, according to the newspaper” Libération “. “, to” denounce the hypocrisy “of the candidate and deputy in the National Assembly.
Griveaux, 42, invokes “family values constantly and always cites his wife as an example, but he does the opposite”, says Pavlenski, who says he obtained the images of the person with whom the deputy had a relationship and exchanged erotic messages for except in May 2018, he was then a spokesman for Macron.
Pavlenski is far from anonymous, for his shocking “artistic performances”. For example, in 2017, he called the televisions and filmed himself throwing gasoline at the windows on the façade of the Banco de France branch in Bastille, setting it on fire and remaining unchallenged at the door until the police arrested him. He was sentenced to three years in prison, two with a suspended sentence.
There is a risk of going to court to respond for illicit disclosure of images, but the victim’s lawyer, Richard Malka, a specialist in media issues, acknowledged to the newspaper “Le Monde” that it is difficult “to effectively pursue this type of publication”.