Benjamin Griveaux

Macron ally pulls out of Paris mayoral race amid sex images reports

A Russian performance artist reportedly claimed responsibility for leaks of compromising sexual images involving Benjamin Griveaux.

A former government spokesman for French leader Emmanuel Macron has pulled out of the race to become mayor of Paris after media reports of leaks on to the internet of compromising sexual images.

The sudden withdrawal of Benjamin Griveaux left the president’s party without a mayoral candidate in the capital for the municipal elections next month.

Paris is the most coveted of France’s municipalities and a political prize that has been used in the past, notably by former president Jacques Chirac, as a springboard for higher office.
Emmanuel Macron with Benjamin Griveaux at the Elysee Palace in Paris (Etienne Laurent/AP)

A grim-faced Mr Griveaux announced the withdrawal on Friday morning, saying he had been targeted by “vile attacks” on the internet and social media.

A Russian performance artist noted for macabre, politically charged actions reportedly claimed responsibility for the online video posts that apparently prompted the resignation.

The Liberation newspaper said Pyotr Pavlensky called the daily on Thursday night and said he obtained the video from an unnamed source who had a relationship with Mr Griveaux.

Liberation quoted Mr Pavlensky as saying he wanted to denounce Mr Griveaux’s “hypocrisy”.

“He is someone who is always playing up family values, who says he wants to be the mayor of families and always cites as examples his wife and children. But he does the opposite,” Liberation quoted Mr Pavlensky as saying.