The autumn of the ‘Solar King’ of French TV, and the parable of seduction

France’s most trusted anchorman for many years, he used to attract thousands and thousands in a night information program. In an earlier time, he embodied a super of the French male — comfy with himself, a TV journalist and man of letters, a husband and a father who was additionally, unabashedly, an excellent seducer of girls.

Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, nicknamed the Solar King of French TV, appeared so assured of his fame that final month he sued for defamation 16 ladies who had accused him of rape, sexual assault and harassment, saying that they have been merely “jilted” and “bitter.”

Angered, practically 20 ladies appeared collectively this month in a TV studio for Mediapart, France’s main investigative information website, with some recounting rapes or assaults.

In what has turn out to be maybe the most important scandal in France’s delayed #MeToo reckoning, their accounts amounted to a devastating rejection of the romantic persona that Poivre d’Arvor so assiduously cultivated with the assistance of France’s gossip pages and its strongest tv community. At 74, he’s clinging to that picture, denying all accusations and arguing that he’s simply an inveterate serial “seducer.”

“He was referred to as a Don Juan for years,” mentioned Hélène Devynck, 55, a journalist who has accused Poivre d’Arvor of raping her at his residence when she labored as one in all his assistants within the early Nineteen Nineties. “There have been articles in Paris Match that mentioned he was the paragon of French seduction. Which forces us now to ask, ‘What does that imply — French seduction?’”

A court docket may resolve. Practically the entire most critical accusations towards Poivre d’Arvor occurred so way back that the statute of limitations has expired. However since he has now sued, the case might present his accusers the chance to confront him publicly in court docket within the coming months.

Poivre d’Arvor has dismissed the ladies as having been motivated by “vengeance,” as a result of that they had not “loved the regard, or perhaps a easy look, of a person that they had as soon as admired,” in a written grievance that has been cited within the information media and whose contents have been authenticated by his lawyer, Philippe Naepels.

Poivre d’Arvor declined an interview request via Naepels, who mentioned that at the least another lady may very well be included within the defamation swimsuit.