At last, he speaks.
Seeking to move beyond the unrelenting sex scandals that have crippled his high-flying political career, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has given an interview to a leading French newsweekly discussing his transformation from one-time presidential favorite to the object international controversy and scorn. But with a signature mix of confession, apology, accusation and self-serving rationalization, his latest statements contain something to titillate, disgust, perplex and offend just about everyone.
Quotes from the interview are woven into the Oct. 12 cover story of French newsmagazine le Point. (snippets of which are available in French here.) In it, the man dubbed DSK by the French press assumes responsibility for his sexual exploits, and says he understands the public reaction to them —though with some equivocation. Though he regrets “shocking [voters] who learned things they never imagined about [my] private life, and those who were disappointed by [my] behavior”, Strauss-Kahn indicated he was nevertheless held to higher standards than other French VIPs who engage in similar nastiness.
“There are many parties organized [for orgies] in Paris, and you’d be surprised at the people you run into there,” DSK said. “What’s perhaps okay for a business leader or an athlete or a performing artist isn’t for a politician. I was too out of phase with French society concerning [expectations of] political leaders. I misjudged.”
(PHOTOS: The Case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn)
More than once. Strauss-Kahn continues battling legal investigations into his alleged involvement in a Lille prostitution ring. He’s managed to surmount recently dropped rape charges stemming from that inquiry, just as he was averting a trial in New York City following his May 2011 arrest for alleged sexual assault. (The charges against him in New York were ultimately dismissed.) And despite the pending litigation and counter-litigation between DSK and the hotel maid who accused him of attacking her, Strauss-Kahn defiantly told le Point that the notorious encounter that launched debate, investigations, and myriad headlines across the planet is in fact a private, even intimate affair.
“The essential thing is that what happened in that room is not a matter falling within the law’s domain. From that point on, the rest is nobody else’s business,” DSK said of the now-dropped charges, before dismissing the civil suit as nothing but a money grab. “In the U.S.A., this type of suit is filed against a rich [defendant]. The plaintiff’s lawyers believed I was rich. I’m not.”
That’s certainly been true since his June separation from his wife, journalist Anne Sinclair. Now Strauss-Kahn is looking to bounce back financially and professionally on his own with a new consulting business. Despite these pursuits, however, Strauss-Kahn made it clear in his interview that the thing he’s most intent on now is ending the 24/7 press scrutiny that–he seems to think–has made him the real victim of the scandals that have come to dominate his public life.
“I no longer have public responsibilities, I’m no longer a candidate for anything…and nothing justifies me being the object of media stalking that, on certain days, has resembled a man hunt,” Strauss-Kahn said. “I can no longer tolerate people taking advantage of my situation and of the legal inquiries I’m subject to—unjustly—in order to ridicule my life…under the pretext of I don’t know what kind of moralizing transparency. I want to be left in peace!”
DSK demanding the media leave him alone in an exclusive, high profile interview with one of France’s leading publications–and one sure to generate lots of public interest? Good luck with that strategy.