Testimonials accusing Eric Zemmour of sexual assault have faces now. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8 March,Mediapart’s information site (subscribers only) broadcast a 35-minute video survey in which eight women challenge far-right presidential candidate†
In this video they show “problematic behavior” and “Sexual violence”, for alleged facts ranging from 1999 to 2019. Two of them had never spoken before and testified in public. No one filed a complaint against Eric Zemmour. Franceinfo returns to these allegations, which relate to a period when the candidate was a journalist at the Figaro or for the channels iTélé and CNews.
Two new public accusations
Claire, an engineer, was only 18 years old in 2002 when she filed a complaint with Mediapart. She is then on an observation internship at the figaro. One day Eric Zemmour calls him into his office to help him solve a computer problem. According to her, he begins to pat her back repeatedly. “What are you doing ?” she asks in surprise. She reports this reaction from the journalist: ‘You’re an intern, aren’t you? Interns, what do you think they are for?’
Pascale Sauvage, political journalist at Figaro at the time and Claire’s internship supervisor, told Mediapart that he had confronted Eric Zemmour about his actions. According to her, he would have persisted: “If we can’t flirt with interns anymore… Because interns are made for sucking and drinking coffee.” Pascale Sauvage explains that she didn’t warn the hierarchy because she thought she wouldn’t have “not taken very seriously”†
Second unpublished testimonial: that of Séverine, now 45 years old. Former intern at figaro, she assures Eric Zemmour forcibly kissed her in 1999. While she offers him her thesis through the written press, for which she had contacted him two years earlier, he offers her a drink. But in the cafe the tone changes. “Without any transition, he makes suggestions for sexual relations.” She refuses, but “he approaches his face, puts his hand on [sa] thigh”. “Hey can help me for my career”, she tells.
Back at the newsroom, in the elevator, Séverine says that Eric Zemmour “takes with his hands, [la] stuck to the wall and [l]powerful kiss on the mouth. At that moment she felt “dirty, destitute”† She wants to warn the management and the police, but her family prevents her from doing so. “They made me think about the fact that (…) he was a public figure, (…) that I could burn myself in the job I wanted to do… And I think unfortunately they were right. Today Séverine is categorical: “It’s an assault.”
Six testimonials already passed on in 2021
Six of the eight women in this video survey had already testified for the first time in 2021, in two Mediapart surveys, published on April 29 and May 30 (paid items)†
This is the case of Gaëlle Lenfant, librarian and councilor of the opposition in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), who initially spoke on social networks. Looking at the camera, she remembers Eric Zemmour attacking her at the end of a workshop at the Summer University of the Socialist Party in La Rochelle in 2004: he “grabs me by the neck. Says to me, ‘This dress looks really good on you, you know?’ And kiss me. By force.” On the day of publication of the first Mediapart article, Gaëlle Lenfant, victim of death threats, filed a complaint.
The same goes for the Belgian journalist Aurore Van Opstal, who wrote on 27 . published April 2021 tweet, since deleted, as has his Twitter account, following a wave of cyber harassment. Aurore Van Opstal confirmed the scene in Mediapart publications of 2021 and 2022. According to her testimony, theon March 18, 2019, during a meeting with Eric Zemmour, the latter he has “stroked the knee with his hand”, go up “to the cross”†
A journalist, a make-up artist, a receptionist or even a press officer: four other women had also spoken with Mediapart in 2021, on condition of anonymity. The journalist had also testified in November 2021 in the program “Complément d’research”, on France 2.
In the video survey published yesterday, they all speak again, still anonymously. They call the “fear of reprisals” and that of duty “to face accusations of defamation (…), attacks by his fans…”
Eric Zemmour refuses to answer
Eric Zemmour refused to answer questions from Mediapart† After his political meeting on Tuesday March 8 in Paris, the day of publication, the candidate did not want to appear in front of the press. “Mediapart wants to make a hit on Women’s Day by recycling testimonials already released last year. Shabby five weeks from the first round”his entourage responded to AFP.
Nevertheless, at this meeting Eric Zemmour spoke on the topic of gender equality: “I want the freedom of women. And I no longer want French women to be afraid. (…) I no longer want our wives, our sisters and our daughters to fear for their safety.”
I want women’s freedom. And I don’t want French women to be scared anymore. I no longer want them to fear the collapse of their standard of living. I no longer want our wives, sisters and daughters to fear for their safety.#LesFrancaisesWithZemmour pic.twitter.com/EmIzk14nOK
— Eric Zemmour (@ZemmourEric) March 8, 2022
all the December 9, 2021, interviewed by France 2 he had stated that he did not want to answer these accusations: “It’s about my private life. (…) These women are accusing me, without any evidence, it’s word against word.”