Emmanuel Macron's lieutenant Benjamin Griveaux out of Paris Mayoral race for sexting

WION Web Team Paris, Ile-de-France, France Feb 14, 2020, 07.00 PM(IST)

Former French government spokesperson and La Republique en Marche (LREM) candidate for the upcoming Paris 2020 mayoral election Benjamin Griveaux attends a news conference in Paris, France, February 5, 2020. Photograph:( Reuters )

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Griveaux has been subjected to months of anonymous statements defaming him and threats to disclose private conversations stolen from him becoming a routine fiasco for Griveaux and his family.

Benjamin Griveaux, a close lieutenant of French President Emmanuel Macron recently pulled out of the race to become mayor of Paris after he was reported to have sent sexual images to a woman who is not his wife.

Griveaux has been subjected to months of anonymous statements defaming him and threats to disclose private conversations stolen from him becoming a routine fiasco for Griveaux and his family.

The defamation and trolling crossed another boundary recently as websites and social networks were found to be carrying ignoble attacks about Griveaux's private life. Pyotr Pavlensky, a Russian artist, also published multiple screenshots of an online chat which he said was between Griveaux and a woman who is not his wife.

A man's genitals were allegedly included in a video and Griveaux is yet to challenge the fact that he has sent the messages. The 42-year-old former investment banker was a part of a clique called "Macron boys" which allegedly helped propel him to the Elysee Palace.

His first role was that of an advisor to the former head of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn who, in 2011, was charged with sexual assault on a maid in a New York hotel. Strauss-Kahn said the sex was consensual and the prosecution dropped all charges.

Macron's bid to control the French capital revolved around Griveaux as his position as Mayor of Paris necessary to build a local power base for his party in mayoral elections next month.

Opinion polls showed him in third place, which indicated that his mayoral bid was already struggling. His LREM party had chosen Griveaux to represent it in the Paris mayoral campaign over Cedric Villani, an eccentric mathematician and officials from Macron's party were planning to meet and decide what to do.

Whether the party would now rally behind Villani, the rebel lawmaker who was expelled from the LREM last month or field another candidate was very unclear and Griveaux exacerbated matters by alienating many within his camp after his selection by referring to party rivals as "arseholes" among other insults in a leaked conversation with journalists.

Griveaux was supported by both the Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo as well as the rival Villani, who defended his right to privacy. The leak of private material was denounced in unison by French politicians from all camps. Many have said that it constituted an unacceptable Americanisation of politics in France, where politicians' private lives have long been considered off-limits.

The publisher of the video, Pavlensky, is renowned for extreme performance art, such as allegedly nailing his scrotum to the ground in Moscow's Red Square and setting fire to a door at the headquarters of Russia's state security agency.