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Being Dominique Strauss-Kahn: Or, how not to apologize

Monday, October 29, 2012
posted by Douglas Keene

It’s bad enough to be in big trouble. But discussing your idiosyncratic social philosophy while under the klieg lights of global news coverage can only make it worse. After a lengthy silence (for which we are grateful) Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK) has granted a cover story interview to the French newsmagazine, le Point. In the interview, he apparently states that he made an error in judgment by assuming that what was okay for business leaders, athletes or performing artists is not okay for a politician. (He is referring to orgy parties he attended “all over the world”.)

But now, things are different, according to DSK. Apparently, DSK (who separated from his wife in June) is opening a consulting business and wants to be “left in peace so he can rebuild his personal and financial equilibrium.

“I no longer have public responsibilities, I’m no longer a candidate for anything…and nothing justifies me being the object of media stalking that, on certain days, has resembled a man hunt,” Strauss-Kahn said. “I can no longer tolerate people taking advantage of my situation and of the legal inquiries I’m subject to—unjustly—in order to ridicule my life…under the pretext of I don’t know what kind of moralizing transparency. I want to be left in peace!” 

It is as though DSK sees himself as the real victim of the scandals surrounding his behaviors and actions while a high-ranking French politician. It reminds us of the apology offered by Eliot Spitzer. And Charlie Sheen. And Herman Cain. And, oh yes. Tiger Woods. But none of them reached the level of self-satire as did DSK when defending himself against charges of having been aware prostitutes were being paid to have sex with him.

“The allegations involve a sex ring alleged to have operated out of the Hotel Carlton in Lille. Prosecutors aim to prove that fraudulently obtained money went to the prostitutes – and that 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn knew they were being paid.

His unorthodox defence comes amid allegations that his mobile phone records showed he had relationships with at least 10 call girls from France and Belgium, all of whom claim they were paid to have sex with him while he was IMF chief.

However, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer, Henri Leclerc, said his client was “totally unaware” the women were being paid. “At these parties, people were not necessarily dressed, and I defy you to tell the difference between a naked prostitute and any other naked woman,” said Mr Leclerc.” 

That’s right. Dominique Strauss-Kahn didn’t know those women were prostitutes because they were all naked. It’s a strange line. It’s an even stranger defense. And not one we’d particularly recommend. Unless you can somehow convince people that gorgeous young women find pudgy 60-year-old politicians worth bedding for reasons other than money.

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