- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
It’s not very smart (or legal, or moral) to patronize underage prostitutes. If you do engage in such behavior, it’s not very smart to write about it in your memoir. If you do write about it, it’s not very smart to then seek political office. If you do somehow reach political office, it’s not very smart to use your position to defend someone else from child sex charges.
Frederic Mitterrand is apparently not very smart.
When the French culture minister — who is the also the nephew of former French President Francois Mitterand — led the French government’s charge in denouncing the arrest of director Roman Polanski, he might have thought about the fact that his own autobiography, published before the former television presenter went into politics, contains details of his paying for sex with young boys in Thailand. A sample:
“All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market excited me enormously… the abundance of very attractive and immediately available young boys put me in a state of desire.”
Opposition leaders are calling for Mitterand to resign (unfortunately, the campaign is being led by the far-right National Front, which puts the Socialists in an awkward spot) but this does seem like an inevitable scandal that Sarkozy’s government could have easily avoided. Comment dit-on “vetting” en Français?
DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images