A French writer who openly promoted pedophilia, and was protected by France’s elite, was summoned to appear in a Paris court on Wednesday where he was charged with his promotion of child sex abuse.
Gabriel Matzneff wrote about pedophilia for decades, describing his relations with teenage girls in France and sex tourism in the Philippines with boys as young as 8, the New York Times reports. The case against Matzneff was filed by l’Ange Bleu, an anti-pedophilia organization that accused him of defending and justifying pedophilia through his books and public appearances.
Having sex with minors under 15 years old is illegal in France, but it’s in the judge’s capacity to decide whether to impose punishment, and how much. (Related: YouTuber Claims Online Pedophile Ring Operates Freely On YouTube)
Despite his avowed pedophilia, prosecutors only recently sought criminal charges, and announced on Tuesday that they would seek out more victims of Matzneff. On Wednesday they raided the headquarters of his publisher, Gallimard, to seize more of his books and manuscripts.
Three of Matzneff’s publishers dropped him following the publication of Vanessa Springora’s “Le Consentement,” or “Consent,” the first account of the abuse by one of his underage victims.
A cascade of elite French abandoned Matzneff as the scandal broke, and he moved to a hotel in the Italian Riviera. The Deputy for Culture for the Mayor of Paris, Christophe Gerard, released a statement on Wednesday acknowledging that in the 1980s, he had arranged payment by Yves Saint Laurent design house for Matzneff’s hotel bills, according to the New York Times.
— Christophe Girard (@cgirard) February 12, 2020
Matzneff only recently became a pariah, and was previously celebrated as an acclaimed writer, receiving prestigious awards throughout his career and getting published by distinguished publishing houses.
Matzneff defended himself in an interview with the New York Times, claiming he wrote about what others did out of view of the public, calling the 1968 countercultural revolution in France a catalyst for such behaviors. “Even the silly things I might have done during those euphoric years of freedom, I wasn’t the only one,” he said. “What hypocrisy.”
The trial will begin in September 2021, where Matzneff’s actions and those of French elite in his orbit will be scrutinized.