Strauss-Kahn to sue for defamation over US film

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Dominique Strauss-Kahn is to file suit for defamation over a US movie inspired by the sex scandal that brought down the former IMF chief.

Welcome to New York by Abel Ferrara stars Gerard Depardieu as a man called Georges Devereaux with striking similarities to DSK — whose alleged 2011 sexual assault on a New York hotel maid shook the world.

Speaking on Europe 1 radio, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Jean Veil said his client would in the coming days “file suit for defamation over the accusations of rape and the insinuations made all throughout the movie”.

He said Strauss-Kahn has been cleared of all charges in the case, and was “sickened and frightened by this film,” which premiered at the Cannes film festival on Saturday.

Veil heavily criticised the film and echoed a charge by Strauss-Kahn’s ex-wife, Anne Sinclair, that aspects of it were “anti-Semitic”.

The start of Ferrara’s film states that it is inspired by a court case, but it has been widely seen as a fictionalised account of the downfall of DSK.

Strauss-Kahn was arrested in May 2011 in New York and forced to live under house arrest for weeks after posting $1m bail.

Criminal charges were eventually dropped and Strauss-Kahn settled a civil suit brought by the maid by paying her undisclosed damages, which reportedly exceeded $1.5m.

Sinclair has accused the movie of portraying her in an anti-Jewish way, through the character of Devereaux’s wife, Simone, played by Jacqueline Bisset. In the film, Simone is a rich woman who inherited a fortune amassed during the Second World War and helps the Israeli state financially.

Writing in the French Huffington Post, which she edits, Sinclair accused the authors and producers of the film of projecting their “fantasies about money and Jews“, notably in a scene in which Devereaux tells Simone, “Everyone knows what your family did during the war.”

“My grandfather (art dealer Paul Rosenberg) had to escape from the Nazis and was stripped of his French nationality by the Vichy government,” Sinclair added.

Sinclair said, however, she would not resort to legal action over what she described as “dirt”.

“I do not attack filth. I vomit it,” she wrote.

Ferrara refuted the allegations, telling AFP he is not “anti-Semitic”.

“I hope not. I was brought up by Jewish women,” he said.

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