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Daniel Cohn-Bendit. Wikipedia
Paris

Pedophile personalities shake up French literary scene

The French writer Gabriel Matzneff who has been accused by the novelist Vanessa Springora of pedophilia, benefits from low-cost housing in the heart of Paris which was allocated to him in 1994. Some other sordid facts about him and his friends have resurfaced.

Published: January 11, 2020, 6:51 am

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    This new affair will further discredit self-declared pedophile Matzneff. Targeted by an investigation for “rapes of minors” and accused by the novelist Vanessa Springora, the writer is now also the subject of a heated controversy concerning his cheap apartment.

    According to Parisian daily Le Parisien that disclosed the information, the 83-year-old man lives in a 34m² in the heart of the Latin Quarter in Paris (Ve) and pays rent of only 348 euros per month. A sum which may seem derisory today, but which is explained by several interventions of powerful politicians, Le Parisien noted.

    First, it is a low-cost housing unit from the City of Paris. It is managed by the social landlord Elogie Siemp, in the PLI category (so-called intermediate accommodation), namely “10 euros per square meter”, specified the City. It is a studio overlooking a small courtyard and located on the first floor, the newspaper explained.

    There is nothing illegal therefore concerning the price of the rent, but the conditions under which it was allocated have raised questions. In fact, according to Le Parisien, the writer benefited from political ties to obtain it. “There have been interventions in high places,” admitted a source close to the file cited by Le Parisien, who specified that it was “Jean Tiberi himself, who took care of it personally” . Jean Tiberi was then mayor of the 5th arrondissement of the capital. “He did not find him an apartment in a bar at the porte de la Chapelle [poor area, ed.] with a view of the periphery,” joked Jean-Baptiste Eyraud of the DAL (Right to housing).

    In addition, his income has never been low, but Gabriel Matzneff has never been asked to justify it during the first 25 years, unlike other tenants of low-cost housing. His rent was never adjusted either. A source from the town hall of Paris admitted that “we would like to eject him”, but today because of his age, it would be “illegal”.

    In the building, many described him a “normal man” or a “charming man”, but also someone who is often absent because he travels a lot. Other neighbours – who wanted to remain anonymous – conceded that the affair has somewhat changed their vision of the writer. “It will be difficult to see him again in the building, to meet him, to pretend not to know who he is,” one said.

    Asked about his intervention in 1994, Jean Tiberi said he did not remember, but that “it is possible”. In 2014, Gabriel Matzneff publicly supported Dominique Tiberi in Le Point for the municipal elections. Dominique is the son of Jean Tiberi.

    Gabriel Matzneff. Wikipedia

    Targeted by an investigation for “rape committed against a minor” under the age of 15, the writer kept an online journal on the Internet, illustrated with vintage photos, which was shut down on December 30.  Springora’s book Consent has shaken the French literary and cultural milieu.

    But Matzneff has brushed off the accusations made by Springora. “I do not deserve the ugly portrait,” he said in response. He has shown no remorse and prefers to boast of his past sexual encounters with children instead.

    In a statement, the prosecution said it had made this decision “after analyzing the work” , published on January 2. Beyond the facts described by Vanessa Springora in her book, “the investigations will seek to identify any other possible victims who may have suffered similar offenses on national territory or abroad,” explained the Paris prosecutor, Rémy Heitz.

    Meanwhile, on the Swiss channel TSR in 1975, in a broadcast that has since been forgotten, some sulphurous statements echo the writings of Matzneff. The former leader of the May 68 movement in France and today a Green politician, justified and promoted pedophilia.

    With the Matzneff affair, a whole forgotten era with its sordid excesses, has resurfaced at the heart of the news in France, even though it is now several decades later. During the 70s and 80s, a part of the libertarian left defended, legitimized and promoted pedophilia in the wake of the sexual revolution.

    Thus, Daniel Cohn-Bendit’s appearance on the Swiss channel TSR in October 1975, resurfaced for a few days on the Internet, and added to the horror of those already expressed in the past in a book and on television.

    “How far should sexual freedom go?” demanded the show host on October 28, 2015, on RTS, using an extract from the Swiss programme Destin titled “At the school of sex”.

    “Some have reached limits that today seem to us, say, out of place,” the host added, and then commented on Cohn-Bendit: “He makes more than ambiguous comments about his relationships with children.”

    Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who worked in an alternative crèche in Frankfurt, Germany, admitted in public: “By having experiences with kids, playing with them, having emotional and even sexual intercourse, emotional sex, caresses, etc., I learned a lot about myself.”

    On the video we can also see him banging on a child’s buttocks and throwing him a stuffed toy. Also in 1975, the former Green MEP published a book, Le Grand Bazar (Belfond), in which he recounted his experiences.

    In one of the extracts, he says: “It had happened to me several times that some kids opened my fly and started to tickle me. I reacted differently depending on the circumstances, but I had a problem with their desire. I asked them, ‘Why don’t you play together, why did you choose me, and not the other kids?’ But if they insisted, I caressed them anyway.” These writings, published in the 70s, when part of the libertarian left openly supported pedophilia, were not considered to be scandalous at the time.

    In 1982, on the French programe Apostrophes on Antenne 2 presented by Bernard Pivot, the same one where Gabriel Matzneff presented his pedophile books and was denounced by the Quebec novelist Denise Bombardier eight years later, the extreme left activist Cohn-Bendit repeated his outrageous claims. “I work with little kids, wow, what are they doing to me,” he said, specifying “flaring the ass” of these children aged 16 months to two years: “I will tickle them, they tickle me, we’re having physical encounters.”

    Then Daniel Cohn-Bendit added: “You know that the sexuality of a kid is absolutely fantastic. You have to be honest, serious. Me, I worked before the little ones, it’s another thing, with kids who were between 4 and 6 years old. Well, you know, when a little girl of five, five and a half, starts to undress you, it’s fantastic, because it’s an absolutely erotic-maniac game.” It was not until 2001 that the statements of the environmental activist, first discovered by the British press, triggered an outcry in France.

    “I can easily explain myself on this,” explained Daniel Cohn-Bendit to Le Monde. “This passage was not something that was done, it was a provocation.” He also said a “provocation from the 1970s has becoming intolerable today. No one would write this again.” To the magazine l’Express he added that he had “remorse for having written all this” and to Libération he said that “pretending that I was a pedophile is an insanity”.

    Finally, the MEP said in a speech: “With what we know today about pedophilia, sexual abuse, these lines are unbearable and intolerable. But it is based on what we know today. This is why I say that I have a good conscience because there was no sexual abuse, but that I have a bad conscience because this text, read today, may seem like a justification of a certain pedophilia.”

    At the time, Philippe Sollers, Roland Castro and Romain Goupil denounced the “Stalinist trial” against Cohn-Bendit and Laurent Joffrin called it “a pure manhunt” in the Nouvel Observateur.

    But since then, Daniel Cohn-Bendit has nevertheless been publicly and repeatedly attacked because of his former remarks. Not many seem to believe in his innocence: François Bayrou in the program “A vous de juger” on France 2 (2009); SVP Swiss politician Oskar Freysinger in TSR’s “Infrarouge” program (2009); Jean-Marie Le Pen in the European Parliament (2011).

    Finally, in May 2019, he was approached in the metro by a youtuber, Isadora Duncan, who urged him to explain his “bad thoughts” , in a video viewed more than 324 000 times.

    “Have you tried to find out about the little children you have looked after? […] Don’t you think you should be concerned about it? ” and asked the former paparazzi, who presents herself as a “Yellow Vest journalist” and rose to prominence by challenging the celebrity on the street.

    “Have a good day,” replied Daniel Cohn-Bendit, who had never been prosecuted nor has he been the subject of a complaint in this regard.

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