It seems that, in some political circles here in Paris, Valerie Trierweiler, the 50-year-old ex-First Lady of France, has a nickname. When she was hanging out in the Elysees Palace with her pal, Mr. President, Francois Hollande, she was known as “Rottweiler”, supposedly due to her extremely short, growling temper. And now, even though she is no longer romantically associated with Mr. Hollande and no longer lives anywhere near the glimmering Elysees Palace, she continues to show the public that the nickname was well-deserved.
About ten days ago, Valerie allegedly slapped a man in a bar in Paris.
Why? His version of the story is that he asked her a simple question, “How is Francois?”. He said he did not ask it in a sarcastic manner; he was just making conversation. She snapped; asked for an apology which she did not get. She decided to leave and, on her way out, spun around on her high heels and smacked this guy’s face. She got her vengeance and he got a lawyer.
Valerie Trierweiler is allegedly being charged with assault. The victim’s lawyer has requested that Ms Trierweiler be ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine her “dangerousness”. The man she struck is Mohamed Rizki, a 33-year-old junior right-wing politician. He’s not famous…well, he wasn’t before he got hit. Now he’ll probably be in her upcoming movie. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s go back a bit – about six months.
Six months ago was when Valerie allegedly slapped a woman in a bar. This woman was the ex-wife of the Minister of Finance. She seemed not to like the kiss-and-tell- all autobiography that Valerie had just written about Francois called “Thank You for This Moment: A Story of Love, Power and Betrayal.” (Ms Trierweiler lost her place as First Girlfriend when Francois cheated on her with Julie Gayet, a 42-year-old actress).
Valerie found out about the affair at the same time as the rest of the world did, when Mr. President was seen on a scooter, clandestinely leaving the new girlfriend’s apartment (and looking pretty silly in the process – I mean really, a sushi delivery man has more class than that). In the woman-slapping incident, it seems that Mr. Trierweiler did more than slap the critic; she scratched her face and pulled her hair – a real public display of why her Rottweiler nickname is not so far off mark.
I notice that the journalistic tides are changing in France. When I first moved here 25 years ago, the press would not cover a story about the President’s women (not any of them and they all had mistresses, kids born out of wedlock, etc.).
The French strongly believe that the private lives of politicians are not public property. But, Valerie’s book, which belittles the President in a very effective way, sold 730,000 copies in France and has made Ms Trierweiler an estimated two million Euros. A paperback version, with more juicy details will be out shortly. Besides the book’s success, the movie rights have been sold to a French film producer, ensuring more compensation for the First Lady who came in second.
As you can see, someone has been buying the book so someone cares about how Mr. Hollande is doing. That would lead to the conclusion that the victim of the slap-happy ex-First Lady was only being curious. Why oh why should Ms Trierweiler care, or even worse, get upset, if someone asks her how Francois is. If no one cared about Francois, no one would buy her book.
In retrospect, Ms Trierweiler should probably say “Thank You for This Moment” to Mr. Rizki. As the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”