Candidate from Macron’s party withdraws from Paris mayoral race over sex tape allegations
Emmanuel Macron’s candidate for Paris mayor, Benjamin Griveaux, withdrew from the race over a leaked sex video Friday, in a blow for the French president’s party ahead of March local elections.
It then spread on social media.
“A website and social networks have launched vile attacks concerning my private life. My family does not deserve this. No one should ever be subjected to such abuse,” Griveaux said at AFP headquarters in Paris.
“For more than a year, my family and I have been subjected to defamatory remarks, lies, rumours, anonymous attacks, the revelation of stolen private conversations and death threats,” he said.
“As if this was not enough, yesterday a new level was reached,” said Griveaux, adding he was not willing to expose his family any further.
“This is going too far.”
France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner vowed legal consequences for the unauthorised posting of the video, which was claimed by a controversial Russian activist and performance artist who once nailed his scrotum into Moscow's Red Square.
Castaner emphasised it was illegal to post videos without the consent of their author and warned violations could be punished by significant fines and up to two years' imprisonment.
Mayoral race polls showed Griveaux in third
The ambitious Griveaux helped found the Republic on the Move (LREM) party, but recent polls showed him trailing in third place in Paris, which Macron won comfortably in the 2017 presidential election.
Very interesting to see how Paris reacts to its own Weiner moment - with outrage at the intrusion on a politician's privacy. Mayor Anne Hidalgo calls for 'respect for the private life', while Griveaux's former rival says the revelation is "a grave menace for our democracy". https://t.co/Ox3VEEDoix— Benjamin Ramm (@BenjaminRamm) February 14, 2020
Macron tapped Griveaux to be the LREM’s Paris mayoral candidate, causing a rift in the party that led to the president asking rival Cedric Villani to step aside.
Villani refused, triggering his exclusion from the ruling party.
Wresting control of the capital would be a huge prize for Macron as he seeks to consolidate his base ahead of an expected re-election bid in 2022.
It would also help offset heavy losses he is expected to face in rural areas, where his policies have met fierce resistance and fired up the “yellow vest” protest movement.
One of Macron’s closest political allies, Griveaux resigned as a junior minister and government spokesman in March last year to run for mayor.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe