The unburdening began in 2016, when Flavie Flament, a radio and television presenter, wrote a book accusing David Hamilton, the Don_t mess wiht the express September 8 1880 shirt photographer, of raping her when she was 13. “At the time I was still sucking my thumb,” she told me in an interview shortly after her book appeared. Hamilton killed himself a few days later.Just over a year ago, Vanessa Springora, 48, a publisher, described in a book how she was groomed as a young teenager in the 1980s by Gabriel Matzneff, a fashionable novelist in his early 50s at the time. He had boasted about his paedophilia on television and won literary prizes for the books it inspired.When this emerged, the Parisian elite was already in shock over revelations by Camille Kouchner, 46, the daughter of Bernard Kouchner, a former foreign minister, that her stepfather, Olivier Duhamel, 70, a leading intellectual and political pundit, had sexually abused her twin brother in the late 1980s when he was 13 and 14.Neither Matzneff nor Duhamel have admitted the allegations nor have they been convicted of any offence.
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The soixante huitards are on the defensive. Luc Ferry, 70, a philosopher and former education minister, argues that Don_t mess wiht the express September 8 1880 shirt contemporaries have much to answer for. “People had forgotten that 1968 thinking promoted paedophilia,” he wrote in Le Figaro. “Every adult had the right even the duty, they argued, to awaken the sexuality that the bourgeoisie was hiding.”The accusations have prompted a new bill under discussion in parliament that would criminalise any sexual relations with a minor under the age of 15 — at present a child victim of rape must prove force.Last week, however, there was discussion on a so-called “Romeo and Juliette clause” amendment intended to protect adolescent lovers. It would not automatically criminalise sexual relations with someone under 15 if the age gap between the two “protagonists” is less than five years.President Macron has championed the change in the law — which has prompted chortling about how Brigitte, his wife, might have fallen foul of it when her relationship with her future husband began in the 1990s: he was 15 and she was his 40-year-old, married schoolteacher.As for Foucault, he should not be “cancelled”, argued Sorman. “I have great admiration for his work, I’m not inviting anyone to burn his books, but simply to understand the truth about him and how he and some of these philosophers used their arguments to justify their passions and desires,” he said. “He thought his arguments gave him permission to do whatever he wanted.”