It was shortly after 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 13, when the campaign by Benjamin Griveaux, candidate of La République en Marche (LRM) for the municipal election in Paris, rocked. While the latter hosts a press conference to present his program, several messages published on Twitter by well-known personalities relay the address of a mysterious site, pornopolitique.com, created by Piotr Pavlenski, a Russian activist, political refugee in France.
“I hope that these distressing sex videos incriminating Benjamin Griveaux and a young woman will be denied by the person concerned and his team because such defamation would be extremely serious in the campaign for Paris”, writes on Twitter Joachim Son-Forget, a member excluded from LRM and customary of provocations on social networks, and one of the first to report the existence of pornopolitique.com. On the site, there are several videos showing conversations and images of masturbation presented as having been sent by Mr. Griveaux to a woman.
These images were also released at the same time by urologist and entrepreneur Laurent Alexandre. The latter explained to World have had “Confirmation of their authenticity” with a “High placed source”. He nevertheless assures that he would have liked the candidate “Hold on” and continues his campaign. Benjamin Griveaux announced his resignation Friday morning.
Also at the same time, a link to pornopolitique.com also appears on the “18-25” forum of jeuxvideo.com, one of the most visited in France. It is published by a recently created account, which shares a lot of anti-Islam messages. In a few tens of minutes, the discussion accumulates more than twenty pages.
The fire quickly became unstoppable. Friday morning, in a speech announcing his withdrawal, Benjamin Griveaux denounced “Vile attacks involving [sa] private life “.
First noises on social networks from Wednesday
But the innuendo and links to pornopolitics.com began to spread more than twenty-four hours earlier, quietly. Their first public occurrence seems to be a sharing in the public Facebook group Yellow Vest, Wednesday, February 12 around 1:30 pm Although potentially relayed to some 190,000 members of this community, the information then went completely unnoticed.
Several hours later, Thursday, other public messages, still on Facebook, hint at the rumor. A user writes in particular that “The inescapable lawyer and political activist Juan Branco”, former candidate in legislative elections for La France insoumise and author of the anti-Macron essay Dusk, would have him “Sent, this afternoon, a link beyond the real” showing the LRM candidate at the Paris City Hall “Masturbate”.