People wishing the world would turn the page on the seemingly endless Dominique Strauss-Kahn sex saga have again seen their hopes dashed. On Feb. 26 a Paris court ordered author Marcela Iacub and her publisher Stock to pay Strauss-Kahn €50,000 ($65,000) in damages for another book that—wait for it—details the former International Monetary Fund chief’s allegedly boundless libido and peculiar sexual proclivities.
The text grew from an affair Iacub and DSK allegedly pursued between January and August, 2012—a period well after Strauss-Kahn’s peccadilloes had come to the attention of most of the planet. In dishing dirt about her ex-lover, Iacub turns against a disgraced figure she repeatedly defended in newspaper editorials and essays—some of which were written during the pair’s fling.
Due out Feb. 27, the book titled Belle et Bête (which can be translated as “Beauty and Beast” or “Beauty and Stupid”) describes the conquests and penchants of a “half man, half pig.” It also recounts conversations Iacub says he had with Strauss-Kahn’s unsuspecting wife, Anne Sinclair, about the revelations that had laid her husband low. Last week Sinclair responded in anger to French newsweekly Nouvel Observateur’s decision to publish excerpts of the book, asking why it gave “credit to the maneuvers of a perverse and dishonest woman driven by her fascination for the sensational and the lure of money?”
Strauss-Kahn sounded a similar note during Tuesday’s court proceedings, when he asked the court whether “anything [is] permitted in order to make money?”
“I want to tell you how shocked I am by this scornful and totally lying text,” said Strauss-Kahn, 63, a former French presidential hopeful. “What’s written cares nothing of (its) devastation to my private life.”
The court sympathized with DSK’s objections. In addition to ordering Iacub and Stock to pay Strauss-Kahn damages, the ruling instructed the Nouvel Observateur to hand over an additional €25,000 ($32,500) to the former IMF honcho. Judges also instructed the book’s publisher to insert a warning into each copy so potential buyers will know the work “Violates Personal Privacy.” That ought to work wonders dissuading voyeuristic readers from snapping up the prurient portrayal of a rich and powerful demi-hog.
“You have had a long list of sexual conquests…of mostly vulgar and unattractive women,” Iacub wrote of a character who goes unnamed in the book—but whom she fully identified in her Nouvel Observateur interview. “It’s one of the authentic and wonderful traits of the true pig–a form of generosity that you show to all women prepared to receive you.”
The book raises ethical questions about Iacub’s previous defense of Strauss-Kahn. Hooking up with him as she says she did just a year ago, it was impossible for Iacub—an Argentina-born sociologist, philosopher and pundit—to come at Strauss-Kahn with an entirely objective mind. By that time, he’d been arrested and imprisoned in New York on attempted rape charges that were eventually dropped. Before that happened, however, other women had leveled claims of sexual assault and otherwise brutish sexual behavior at Strauss-Kahn. Those allegations were followed by French legal inquiries into complicity to pimping (of which he’s been cleared), and for his alleged participation in orgies involving a Lille prostitution ring (investigations into which continue). During much of that time, Iacub stepped up in public defense of the man she’s now calling 50% swine without disclosing their relationship.
If critics have decried Iacub’s actions as hypocritical, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyers tried adding cold, money-hungry cynicism to that charge. During Tuesday’s court proceedings, DSK’s legal team produced an email they said Iacub sent her former lover, expressing her discomfort about a “project concerning you, in which I never should have participated”. The missive, dated November 2012, says “people I work with” pushed Iacub into acting as bait to lure Strauss-Kahn into a situation designed to cost him dearly while benefiting them. Despite her “toremented conscience”, Iacub’s email was apparently intended to explain the forthcoming book, not call it off.
“My efforts to meet you were part of that same project,” Iacub’s purported email to DSK read. “It was necessary to make you believe I’d fallen for your charm, was mad about you. And then, that my heart had been broken, that I’d become jealous, and everything else you (now) know.”
Iacub’s attorneys said they’d found no trace of such an email on their client’s end, but acknowledged she “doesn’t contest (its) authenticity per se.” Coming in the wake of previous books, documentaries, plays, and even film productions about his sexually driven fall from power, Strauss-Kahn said Iacub’s text was just another example of people profiting from his woes.
“Lots of people are expressing themselves in my name, and that’s gone too far,” Strauss-Kahn said. “I want just one thing: to be left alone.”
That’s another wish unlikely to be answered. Despite the damages and warning insert granted by the court in his favor, his legal row with Iacub merely generated more attention. Just as bad, despite the slight delay of some books getting to stores as inserts are printed, early orders by online vendors suggest Belle et Bête may enter high up on France’s best-seller list. That isn’t the kind of DSK page-turning many people were hoping for.