No stranger to scandal, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund head, has failed in his attempt to get a court in Paris to ban an upcoming veiled memoir by a former mistress, the Guardian reports. Strauss-Kahn, who resigned in 2011 after being accused of sexually assaulting a hotel maid (a charge of which he was later cleared), was seeking to block a book by law professor and Libération columnist Marcela Iacub, his lover of seven months.
The book is titled "Belle et Bête," which translates as either "Beauty and the Beast" or "Beautiful and Stupid."
Strauss-Kahn and his lawyers did win a partial victory in court. A card, detailing his objections to the book, will be individually inserted into each copy to be sold.
In addition, he will receive 50,000 Euros in damages from Iacub and her publisher, as well as 25,000 Euros from the French news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, which had published excerpts of the book. In a strange instance of a court dictating content, the magazine is also required to publicize the ruling on half of its front page. Strauss-Kahn and his lawyers had sought 100,000 Euros from each and a full front page piece about the ruling.
"Belle et Bête" was written after the author's affair from January to August 2012 with DSK, as he is known, who is married but estranged from his wife, journalist Anne Sinclair. Although Iacub claims that the graphic sexual details it includes are fictional, she confirmed to the Nouvel Observateur that the male character, whom she does not name, is based on Strauss-Kahn and that the scenes are "emotionally true."
Strauss-Kahn called the book "despicable" and "false" and is reportedly horrified by the "dishonest" way in which he is portrayed. In the Nouvel Observateur interview, Iacub described DSK as "half man, half pig": "DSK the man is vile, whereas DSK the pig is creative and marvelous, but like all pigs, he's unyielding. DSK is an artist of the sewers, a poet of filth and abjection." Iacub, having given the single interview on the topic, has denied to comment further.
"Belle et Bête" is now available in France, where reviewers have compared it to Kafka's "Metamorphosis," as well as the work of Michel Foucault, Michel Houellebecq and Catherine Millet. A write-up in the Guardian ran this translated passage:
"You were old, you were fat, you were short and you were ugly. You were macho, you were vulgar. ... Even in the heat of passion, when I'd have happily traded my future for just an hour in your arms, I never ceased to see you the way you truly were: a pig. My compassion for those animals, too often vilified, triggered my interest in you."
Iacub does seem to have a certain affection for pigs, having featured one on the cover of at least one of her other books and writes about DSK's pig-like side as his best part. As she told the Nouvel Observateur:
"The ideal of the pig is the sex: nobody is excluded from the party, not old, nor ugly, nor small. While DSK has always seemed to me to be positively to the Right, the sexual communism he aspires to as a pig delights me." [The imperfect translation is mine.]
Playboy philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy came to Strauss-Kahn's defense yesterday in the Daily Beast, writing that "I don't like it when a person is compared to a pig. ... I don't like to see a man being hit when he's down."
Strauss-Kahn currently is also being investigated for his links to a network of prostitutes in northern France, though he denies all charges.