Paris residents spoke of mixed feelings Saturday: a sense that attitudes were changing, but also a firm commitment to allowing private lives to remain private.
“In the future, French society will be more attentive to sexism and will try to avoid such attitudes,” said Julien Haroche, 41, a doctor who was relaxing Saturday at the Jardin du Luxembourg, one of Paris’s largest parks. “The overall feeling about such acts is going to change.”
Prosecutors have serious questions about the credibility of a hotel housekeeper who has accused former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn of raping her, a person familiar with the case said Thursday. (July 1)
Still, he said, “if he’s just having affairs, if he’s supported by his wife, that’s their problem” — not the public’s.
Others talked about the United States with a mixture of horror and admiration. The images of an unshaven, handcuffed Strauss-Kahn being taken into a police station was a “spectacle,” said Tamara Guerrero, 47, a homemaker. At the same time, she said, “there’s equality between high and low” in that Strauss-Kahn had been treated as an ordinary criminal, something she said would not have happened in France.
And she said that she admired Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. for admitting that there were problems with the case even as he pressed on with it, saying that it demonstrated a particularly American commitment to the truth.
Although some of Strauss-Kahn’s closest allies in the Socialist Party said Friday and Saturday that he could make a comeback, and even run for the presidency, others were more cautious about embracing him. Many voters here said that they would wait until the outcome of the case is clearer before making predictions about whether they would choose him in an election, although they did not rule him out entirely.
Strauss-Kahn’s political appeal among French leftists has also diminished over the past month and a half, with images of the luxury Tribeca townhouse where he had been staying regularly splashed across French television screens. On Friday night, his first of freedom after being released on personal recognizance, he and his wife went to a chic Upper East Side Italian restaurant where the bill, and the menu, were dissected on French news channels.
Correspondent Edward Cody contributed to this report.