Benjamin Griveaux quits Paris mayoral race over sex scandal

Mayoral candidate Benjamin Griveaux bows out of the race after facing backlash over alleged unsolicited images which were sent to a woman who was not his wife

Mayoral candidate Benjamin Griveaux, 42, has allegedly been caught sending unsolicited images to a woman, raising several questions in France.

The romantic city of Paris was celebrating Valentine's Day when news broke out on the internet that Griveaux had to quit the race following allegations of the married man sending pictures of his genitalia to a woman who is not his wife.

Although this is not the first time something like this has happened, this one became a game-changer once politicians started talking about how the country's politics is turning into US politics.

While withdrawing from the candidacy he said the incident has led his family to endure "defamatory statements, lies, rumors, anonymous attacks, disclosure of private conversations that were stolen and death threats" for more than a year.

Mayoral candidate Benjamin Griveaux
Mayoral candidate Benjamin Griveaux Wikimedia Commons

Macron's choice for Paris

Griveaux was Emmanuel Macron's choice as the mayor of Paris. Several social media outlets and websites targeted Griveaux for the images and talked about how he was preaching the path of having a family and a life around them.

He said his family did not deserve this. When he bowed out of the race, several people, including his political rivals, were enraged at the situation. The outcry came from the perspective that this would be an assault on the liberal attitude of the French people on sex.

The French politician in Marine Le Pen's far-right National Rally party, Sebastian Chenu, said on Twitter that the Americanization of political life is detestable. Another politician, Anne Hidalgo, the current mayor of Paris who is also standing for reelection, said this is not the kind of debate that the country should be having and privacy should be respected.

France has been no stranger to similar scandals. Countries like the UK and the US have seen similar miscreants facing a harsher criticism in the face of such scandals. In situations that Anthony Weiner and Bill Clinton were stuck in, they had to face a large crowd to answer to while French president Francois Hollande did not step down in 2014 when reports about his affair with a French actress surfaced.

The Paris mayoral candidate is resigning not because of the media attention or on moral grounds but because of the "embarrassment of dealing with these images as he is campaigning for city office" Eric Fassin, a sociologist who has worked on contemporary sexual politics in France and the US, told CNN.