Another Sarkozy wedding stirs up controversy
ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images When it comes to romance, the Sarkozy men are of the carpe-diem variety. After a two-month engagement, Jean Sarkozy, the dashing 22-year-old politician and son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, married his childhood sweetheart, Jessica Saubon, yesterday. The young couple exchanged vows in a small civil ceremony in Neuilly-sur-Seine, the posh Paris ...
ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images
When it comes to romance, the Sarkozy men are of the carpe-diem variety.
After a two-month engagement, Jean Sarkozy, the dashing 22-year-old politician and son of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, married his childhood sweetheart, Jessica Saubon, yesterday. The young couple exchanged vows in a small civil ceremony in Neuilly-sur-Seine, the posh Paris suburb. So privé was the wedding that guests were informed of the event only by text message. Apparently, President “Bling-Bling” Sarko (who married his current wife, former model and singer Carla Bruni, within four months of their introduction), didn’t plan the modest nuptials.
Alas, the celebrations may have been tarnished as news of the wedding resurrected talk of cartoonist Maurice Sinet, 79, who was fired in July from Charlie Hebdo, the Paris political saritirical weekly, for a remark he made in his column about Jean and Jessica that critics — and later the publication — deemed anti-Semitic.
Saubon, heiress to the Darty family fortune, is Jewish. When the young couple announced their engagement this summer, rumors began to circulate that Jean was planning to convert to Judaism. Though young Mr. Sarkozy, a Catholic, has Jewish roots (Nicolas Sarkozy’s grandfather was Jewish), he and his family made haste to dispel the myth. Sinet, however, used it as fodder for his column and took a shot at Jean:
[He] has just said that he wants to convert to Judaism before marrying his fiancée, a Jew and heiress of the founders of Darty. He will go far in this life, the little one!”
Charlie Hebdo‘s editor, Phillipe Val, initially asked Sinet to apologize and retract the statement, which suggested that by converting Jean was elevating his financial status, an idea that smacks of the old stereotype about Jews and money. Sinet’s colorful refusal — citing that he’d rather cut off his testicles — quickly prompted his firing. Val explained in an editorial that the cartoonist’s actions were “neither acceptable nor defendable in court,” and cited a radio interview Sinet gave in 1982 in which he said, “I am anti-Semitic, and I have no fear of saying so.”
Sinet, who launched his own publication this week, is now facing charges of inciting “racial hatred” brought by the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism. A no-show for preliminary hearings on Tuesday, Sinet had his attorney fax a list of witnesses — including Jean Sarkozy — to be called in his defense. The next trial date has been set for January. Should be well worth watching.
Rebecca Frankel was an editor at Foreign Policy from 2013-2018.
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