A plethora of French journalists and public officials are responding to the arrest of IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn with elaborate plots and international conspiracies. According to Strauss-Kahn's alleged victim, at about 12:00 p.m. Saturday, he emerged naked from his hotel bathroom, gripped the hotel maid's breasts from behind, pursued her as she tried to flee and pulled her back to sexually assault her. But according to some commentators in France, the arrest is either a conspiracy to take down the IMF or a plot to destroy Strauss-Kahn's political career. Here are the latest rumors from across the pond.
- It was a trap Dominique Paillé, vice president of the center-right Radical Party, said that Strauss-Kahn may be a victim of "manipulation." Offering a vague metaphor, he "slipped on a banana peel that could have been put under his shoe," he said, "if he fell on that banana peel, it's because it was known that he had a weakness. And if you're a candidate for the presidency of the French Republic, you're supposed to shield yourself against weakness."
- It's a plot against the IMF Michelle Sabban, a support of Strauss-Kahn and senior councilor for the greater Paris region insists Strauss-Kahn is innocent. "I am convinced it is an international conspiracy," he said. "It's not like him. Everyone knows that his weakness is seduction, women. That's how they got him." He told Le Monde "It's the IMF that they wanted to decapitate, not just the candidate in the Socialist primary."
- Sarkozy's goons were in on it The interesting piece of evidence proponents of this theory introduce is the curious timing of a Tweet. Before the media broke the story of Strauss-Kahn's arrest, Jonathan Pinet, a youth activist in Sarkozy's UMP party tweeted "a mate in the US just told me that DSK's been arrested in a hotel in NYC an hour ago." That's stirring conspiracies in France, reports The Telegraph. "A blogger on Le Post, a news website, pointed out that the tweet was posted at 4.59 pm New York Time, just 10 minutes after Mr Strauss-Kahn was seized on an Air France plane," writes the paper. "Mr Pinet had said he had been arrested an hour previously in his hotel, raising questions on how he had obtained the information so fast."
- This is just America being ugly "Everyone knows that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a libertine, and that he is distinguished from others by the fact that he doesn't try and hide it," said Gilles Savary, a member of the European Parliament and Strauss-Kahn’s Socialist Party. "In puritanical American, infiltrated by rigorous Protestantism, financial misdeeds are far more tolerated than pleasures of the flesh."
- Straus-Kahn predicted this Interestingly, Strauss-Kahn gave a previously off-the-record interview with France's Libération newspaper saying he suspected that his enemies would attack him for his promiscuity. "For years people have talked about photos of giant orgies (involving me), but I have never seen anything come out...So why don't they show them?" He imagined "a woman (who I supposedly) raped in a car park and who had been promised 500,000 or a million euros to invent such a story."
While the knee jerk reactions dismissing the case seem quite hasty, the IMF chief deserves the presumption of innocence, regardless of his history of sexual deviance. As Slate's Johan Hufnagel and Cecile Dehesdin write, "we should no more automatically assume DSK's guilt than automatically dismiss the possibility that the Sofitel maid's accusations are genuine."