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Another French Intellectual Falls After Comments on Abuse Accusations

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PARIS — A number one French tv information community has fired Alain Finkielkraut, one of many nation’s most outstanding public intellectuals, for suggesting there might have been a rush to judgment within the downfall this month of a number one political scientist accused of sexually abusing his teenage stepson.

Mr. Finkielkraut, 71, was requested to debate the case of Olivier Duhamel, 70, who final week give up his college and media posts after the accusations surfaced in a e book. He started by telling the community, LCI, that Mr. Duhamel had dedicated “a reprehensible act,” including that, “What he did was very serious, it was inexcusable.”

Later, nevertheless, Mr. Finkielkraut, a member of the revered Académie Française, launched into a sequence of musings. “Was there consent? At what age did this begin? Was there some form of reciprocity?” When the interviewer reminded him that the case concerned “a 14-year-old child,” he stated: “And so? We are talking about an adolescent, it’s not the same thing.”

A social media explosion ensued. Adrien Taquet, the secretary of state for the safety of youngsters, tweeted: “What world do you live in, Alain Finkielkraut? Are you really talking about consent between an adolescent and a member of his family?”

On Monday night, hours after the present, LCI fired Mr. Finkielkraut, a author and essayist, from his place as a commentator, saying it “condemned” his phrases whereas supporting “respectful and reasoned debate.”

In a phone interview, Mr. Finkielkraut stated he had filed go well with towards LCI for defamation and wrongful termination of his contract. “Pedophilia revolts me,” he stated. “My purpose was not to deny the crime, which I denounced emphatically, but to specify the crime. To find out the facts of what actually happened. But it seems that in such cases examination of the facts is viewed as a form of indulgence of the crime.”

It was the newest in quite a few circumstances by which a technology formed by the anything-goes sexual liberation of May 1968 has confronted a recent tradition that acknowledges and condemns predatory male sexual conduct.

In 1977, a number of main intellectuals and writers — together with Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Roland Barthes, Jack Lang, and Louis Aragon — signed a letter within the each day newspaper Le Monde defending three males imprisoned for 3 years for having sexual relations with minors aged 15. They wrote that the adolescents had described the acts as consensual and deplored the gulf between “an obsolete law and the daily reality of a society beginning to recognize the existence of the sexual life of children and adolescents.”

“Three years of prison for caresses and kisses, that’s enough,” they added.

In a e book known as “La familia grande,” Camille Kouchner accused Mr. Duhamel, who headed the physique overseeing Sciences Po University in Paris, of persistently abusing her twin brother, beginning when he was 14. The French public prosecutor has opened an investigation. Elisabeth Guigou, a former minister of justice, resigned at present as the top of an unbiased fee into the prevalence of incest in France, after being recognized as a buddy of Mr. Duhamel.

Ms. Kouchner has urged {that a} sure Parisian inventive and literary world — non secular descendants of the writers, artists and intellectuals who penned that 1977 letter — was complicit within the silence surrounding the alleged abuse of Mr. Duhamel’s stepson.

One of the signatories of the letter was Gabriel Matzneff, an writer accused final yr of abusing a minor. Mr. Finkielkraut stated early final yr that he was “ill at ease with the way, through the Matzneff case, the whole post-1968 period is called into question, as well as a Paris literary milieu.”

In the interview, Mr. Finkielkraut stated, “Suddenly, it seems, I am guilty of complicity because I attempt to distinguish between children and adolescents. I did not want to excuse Mr. Duhamel. I have no indulgence toward pedophilia. What happened was a crime. But we need to know its exact nature.”

He continued: “There is a difference between justice in court, where lawyers argue a case, and contemporary media justice, where all distinctions disappear.”

Mr. Finkielkraut, the son of an Auschwitz survivor, is thought for the frank and sometimes provocative expression of his views. He was vilified with anti-Semitic abuse after he turned towards the Yellow Vest protest motion in 2019, saying the protesters “devastate without regard for anything or anybody.” At an illustration he was known as a “Fascist.” “Tel Aviv, back to Tel Aviv,” the group shouted.

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