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A minister present at a clandestine dinner? The “rumor” that embarrasses the executive

Emmanuel Macron in Créteil on March 29, 2021. – Ludovic Marin / AP / SIPA

  • The broadcast on M6 of a report on illegal dinners in Paris sparked a heated controversy on social networks and the opening of an investigation.
  • One of the organizers claimed to have met “ministers” at one of his forbidden dinners, before going back on his remarks.
  • The rumor persists and puzzles the government.

An “April Fool’s Day” that wreaks havoc. The broadcast on M6, last Friday, of a report on illegal dinners in Paris ignited social networks and led to the opening of a judicial investigation. In an excerpt, one of the organizers, Pierre-Jean Chalençon, claimed to have met “ministers” at these feasts, supposed to be prohibited because of the measures in force to fight against the coronavirus. After the outcry, the passionate collector of Napoleon returned to his words,
by evoking “humor”.

But the controversy has continued in recent days, despite the denial of several members of the government, who denounced a simple “rumor”. In the midst of managing the health crisis, this highly media controversy continues to embarrass the executive.

Emmanuel Macron castigates “the society of denunciation”

This Thursday, Gabriel Attal said that Emmanuel Macron himself had raised the subject at the Council of Ministers. “The President of the Republic recalled that in this period, the French expect the exemplarity of all those who have responsibilities. “The Head of State” reiterated his confidence and his demands vis-à-vis members of the government “, and marked his” attachment to not entering a society of constant denunciation and slander “, government spokesperson reported. “We have no information on the participation of members of the government in this type of evening,” concluded Gabriel Attal.

In recent days, several ministers have expressed their skepticism about the possibility that one or one of their colleague sat at Pierre-Jean Chalençon’s table. “This affair, I discovered it at the same time as everyone else. I have never heard of ministers going to these underground restaurants. If ever that was the case, it is obviously scandalous and it should be followed by facts ”, thus reacted the Minister of Ecology Barbara Pompili, during an interview with 20 Minutes.

“This controversy is indicative of a deleterious climate”

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Gérald Darmanin wondered Tuesday about a “rumor [qui] undermines the foundations of democracy ”, calling on Europe 1 to“ really think about this idea that it is the suspicion that allows people to be condemned, and not the truth. “And the Minister of the Interior to condemn” the panic “of social networks despite the denials.

“This controversy is indicative of a deleterious climate, of the permanent doubt that exists in public opinion, and reveals the mistrust, certainly not new, with regard to leaders and politicians,” adds an adviser to the executive. “Some are hoping for a new business, but clearly, we are not there,” sighs in another ministry. “All this reflects a lot of exasperation, it is the manifestation of a great frustration of the current crisis and the restrictive measures. We are also not unaware of the political side of those who agitate this subject on social networks. Whether this information is true or not matters little to them, as long as the suspicion is cast.

Ongoing investigations

Still, the government may not be done with the “rumor”. Tuesday, the society of journalists of JT M6 assured in a statement that “other sources” had “confirmed in off the presence of at least one member of the government at one of these dinners”, indicating that the drafting continued its investigations. Wednesday evening,
on the set of Cyril Hanouna, a man presented as one of the “servers” of “the evening of April 1 of Pierre-Jean Chalençon at the Palais Vivienne”, assured, on condition of anonymity, that a “politician with gray hair”, was present.

What revive the rumor on social networks, and force the Minister for Foreign Trade Franck Riester, target of Internet users, to react on Twitter : “I see my name associated here and there with the controversy surrounding the holding of illegal dinners. These rumors are totally false and shocking. I formally disclaim them. “

On the Matignon side, we refuse to comment on these events. But it is assured that if the presence of a minister was proven at one of these forbidden dinners, he would no longer have his place in the government.



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