Strauss-Kahn Speaks

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Sept. 19 2011 9:09 AM

Strauss-Kahn Speaks

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Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images

Dominique Strauss-Kahn answers questions by French journalist Claire Chazal

Poor Dominique Strauss-Kahn, he just wants to show women some love, and they keep crying rape. Strauss-Kahn recently appeared on television in France answering some questions about what happened between him and the hotel maid Nafissatou Diallo when she entered his suite at the Sofitel to clean it. Although we only have translated summaries of the interview, Strauss-Kahn acknowledges there was a sexual encounter between the two but says no force was involved and he didn’t offer her money. He characterizes the few minutes in which he ejaculated in Diallo’s mouth and she spit his semen on the floor as “not only inappropriate, but more than that, it was a fault.” He said he has suffered because of the ordeal he went through afterward: arrest, incarceration, and accusation of sexual assault. It’s put a dent in his joie de vivre: “This lightness, I have lost for ever.” Fortunately, he can comfort himself that he can still float through life on his wife’s money.

The charges against Strauss-Kahn were dropped because Diallo turned out to be a serial liar. In the reports of the interview on French TV, it doesn’t sound as if his questioner (an old friend of Strauss-Kahn’s wife) pressed him hard enough to explain what exactly did happen in the suite. If there was no force, and no money, are we to believe it was his continental charm that caused Diallo to get on her knees and relieve a stranger?  If this interview was supposed to be his exoneration, he should cut short his explanation tour.

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Strauss-Kahn was also asked about the accusations of Tristane Banon, a young French journalist who says Strauss-Kahn tried to rape her during an interview. Strauss-Kahn says he did try to kiss Banon, who was his daughter’s friend, but when she declined his advances nothing further untoward happened. Her version is that he fell on her like a “rutting chimpanzee.” But again, Strauss-Kahn’s own attempt to explain himself strengthens the case of his accuser. We are supposed to believe the denials of man who admits that somehow his semen got on a maid who entered his room believing the guest had checked out, and that he thought a professional meeting with a woman his daughter’s age would a good opportunity to have sex. Strauss-Kahn says Banon’s description of falling to the floor and kicking him off her is “imaginary and defamatory.” But while he may have a problem with the women who end up accusing him of assault, he says he doesn’t have a problem generally with women. He explains: “I have respect for women, I understand their reaction, I understand it they are shocked. I paid heavily, I'm still paying.” Let’s hope Diallo’s lawyer in her civil suit can get him to actually pay.

Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column. 

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