Here’s How Child Abuse Scandal & Grooming Allegations Against French Writer Were Ignored For Decades

Here’s How Child Abuse Scandal & Grooming Allegations Against French Writer Were Ignored For Decades

(upbeat music) – In 2013, Gabriel Matzneff
won the Prix Renaudot, a prestigious French literary award. This award is every French writer’s dream, but little did Matzneff
know that it would be the catalyst to his
public downfall in 2020 at the hands of Vanessa Springora. She’s the head of Julliard
Publishing House in France. But when she saw he won the award, she started to write Le Consentement, which was released on
January 2nd of this year. Its contents told a chilling story about how in the ’80s,
50 year old Matzneff developed a relationship
with 14 year old Springora. Now there’s been a wave of
public outcry against the writer, leading to legal repercussions. But surprisingly, he was extremely open about his affinity for and relations with underage girls and boys. And throughout his career, he consistently wrote about it publicly. So how could an open
pedophile spend decades promoting his affection for children without being put behind bars? Well, we’re going to get
to the bottom of that in today’s video. My name’s Maria Sosyan and
welcome to Rogue Rocket. A couple months before Le
Consentement was released, Springora started to speak publicly about the contents of the book, which caused the police
to start an investigation into Matzneff’s past. And last week, the writer was called to Parisian courts for
promoting pedophilia through his books. Along with that, prosecutors
claimed that they would start looking for other witnesses and victims. But a lot of this comes as
a surprise for Matzneff. After news of what
would be Le Consentement was leaked to him by a
colleague at the publisher, he fled to Italy to get
away from his critics, and when it was released, he had expressed how shocked he was about the way he was portrayed in the book. Writing in an open letter, “Today I learn that Vanessa
is publishing a book about us. “Not a book in the image
of what we lived together, “but a book in which, tell
me those who have read it, “she draws a disparaging,
hostile portrait turned black, “intended to harm me, to destroy me, “where using a heavy
psychoanalytic vocabulary “she tries to make me a pervert, “a manipulator, a predator, a bastard.” He even defensively
mentioned that she had sent love letters to him and consented to the relationship, which is true. But remember, she was 14 at the time, dating a 50 year old man. And looking back at the relationship, Springora claims there were obvious signs that she was being
groomed and didn’t realize what she was doing. Matzneff has faced other consequences since the release of Le Consentement, like his publisher’s removing
his books from shelves. But for decades, they were fine with the content of his books. He was extremely open
about his relationships with children and wrote
about it prolifically. In the ’70s and ’80s,
he released two books, Mes Amours Decomposes, and
Les Moins de Seize Ans, that outlined his position on pedophilia. In Mes Amours Decomposes, which translates to my loves deconstructed, he writes about his relationships with girls between the ages of 14 to 16, and in Les Moins de Seize Ans, which is the under 16
year olds in English, he gave a shockingly open
defense of pedophilia over all. He didn’t just write about
pedophilia in theory, though. Other than dating minors in France, he went as far as to engage in sex tourism in the Philippines. Writing about that experience in 1985, “Sometimes, I’ll have as many as four boys “from eight to 14 years old in my bed “at the same time, and I’ll engage “in the most exquisite
lovemaking with them.” But despite this, he
never faced consequences, and that’s because he
had powerful friends. And on top of that, he
was largely shielded by French academia, who encouraged members to push the boundaries
of what was acceptable. In 1986, while Springora
was in a relationship with Matzneff, there
was an anonymous letter sent to the police saying that he was having sexual relations with a minor. When Matzneff went to the police station after being summoned,
he had what he believed was a solid defense to the accusations. A cutout article written
by longtime admirer and at the time French
president Francois Mitterand. In it were words of praise
for Matzneff by the president. In a New York Times interview, Matzneff claimed that the
letter caused the police to ignore the anonymous
tips and blow it off as an envious writer
trying to sabotage him. Mitterand’s admiration of Matzneff wasn’t because of his work on pedophilia, even though the writer
was publishing works on it throughout this time. But later on, Mitterand
changed his opinions about the matter and allegedly said that Matzneff had fallen into pedophilia. But back to Matzneff’s
run-in with the law. Despite investigators assuming
it was an angry rival, Matzneff still took precautions and had the famous French
writer Christian Giudicelli help hide letters and pictures concerning the relationship
between him and Springora. Later on, the couple
had to meet in a hotel to hide from police welfare checks. All those expenses were covered by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent with the help of Laurent’s
close aide, Christophe Girard. Later on, Girard became
the Deputy for Culture to the mayor of Paris in 2002. During that time, he lobbied for Matzneff to win an annual lifetime stipend given by the National Book Center. After Le Consentement was released, the organization stripped
Matzneff of the stipend. Girard later released a statement claiming that he didn’t support Matzneff and that he was instructed
by Pierre Berger, the co-founder of YSL,
and friend of Matzneff to help the author receive the stipend because he was struggling
financially at the time. But let’s go back to
Matzneff’s friend, Giudicelli. In Le Consentement, Springora claims that she discovered some
of Matzneff’s writings that described his
relationships with children in South Asia, and Giudicelli also wrote about his time with Matzneff in Manila and would refer to Matzneff
by his room number. He wrote, “When it comes to conjuring up, “here and there, in a short paragraph, “memories of mischief and naughtiness “about which we hardly feel guilty, “my dear eight oh four takes care “to conceal his dear Christian
under the protective wing “of eight one one.” This still doesn’t explain
why he’s been supported by many French elites. I mean, the two pro-pedophilia
pieces by Matzneff we mentioned earlier were written before he received the prestigious
Prix Renaudot and others. So what’s the deal? Did Matzneff manage to find a handful of enablers to help him? Well, no. It was a systemic problem in academia and other elite circles of society that were influenced by the May ’68 Social Revolution in France. The movement was based
on nearly two months of protests and civil unrest in France that took place at
universities and factories. The slogan for the movement was it’s forbidden to forbid,
and it fought against racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of bigotry and traditionalism. But in some cases, advocates were arguing to abolish laws that prohibited children from being in relationships with adults. They argued that being fully
liberated from their parents would allow them to be sexual beings. In one case, there was even an open letter supported by psychoanalysts and academics to change the law. Famous French thinkers
like Michel Foucault and Simone de Beauvoir also argued in defense of relationships
between adults and minors. And the famous newspaper Liberation, which was co-founded by Jean-Paul Sartre, openly called pedophiles victims and ran ads for adults
seeking children for sex. And to this day, Josyane Savigneau, a former editor at Le
Monde, has defended Matzneff and also tweeted in his defense. Also saying that while she didn’t agree with the contents of his books, they were better than others
that were on her desk. The full context of Matzneff’s story, though, is political. At the time, being open
to defending pedophiles was considered a progressive
stance by French academia, who were pushing the
boundaries of sexual liberation as a continuation of the
May ’68 Social Revolution. So in a way, they saw
what Matzneff was doing as something almost
politically revolutionary, and this allowed him to
live and express himself freely for decades. And in some ways, those
academics have won their fight. In most western nations,
the age of consent is between 16 and increasingly, 18. But in France, where there
have been repeated pushes to establish an age of consent, there are only laws saying
you can’t sleep with someone below the age of 15,
meaning there’s a gray zone for people to have relations with those between the ages of 15 and 18. But the bigger picture from this case is what’s considered a
great hypocrisy in France. That the society champions equality, but on occasion lets academic
elites step above the law when they want to push
society’s boundaries. A better quote to describe this is from Pierre Verdrager, who
has analyzed pedophilia in his writings, saying, “We’re in a very “egalitarian society
where there is a pocket “of resistance that actually
behaves like an aristocracy.” And within this context,
people who spoke out against Matzneff were shut down. Just take a look at this public
discussion that aired on TV. Only one person spoke out against Matzneff and it was Denise Bombardier, a foreigner and French Canadian writer. – (speaks in French) – But for the most part,
French writers and academics are just now backing from
their support of Matzneff after the release of Le Consentement. And figureheads are just
recently apologizing for defending him, such as the host of the TV show we just
showed, Bernard Pivot. He tweeted, “In the ’70s and ’80s, “literature came before morals. “Today, morality takes
precedence over literature. “Morally, this is progress. “We are more or less the intellectual “and moral products of a country
and, above all, of an era.” Just to clarify, most French people outside of academic
circles never supported Matzdeff’s work or
views, and his book sales have been plummeting since 2013. As for now, Matzdeff did not
show up to court last week when he was summoned,
but a date has been set for his trial in September 2021. In the mean time, investigators are still trying to find victims and witnesses to see if he has any crimes
that aren’t protected by the statute of limitations. Still, this kind of protection
of an open pedophile speaks volumes on how certain cultures treat the most powerful. Who knows what would
have happened to Matzneff if he wasn’t a famous writer
and still committed those acts. That said, if you’re in France, do you feel certain people are
held to a different standard when it comes to breaking the law? Do you think Matzneff should be on trial for promoting pedophilia in his writings? Or should he be protected by free speech? We’d love to hear your take on this, so please leave a comment down below. All right, that about wraps
it up for today’s video. If you like this video and want more, be sure to give it a thumbs up and click that subscribe button. If you want to stay up to
date with this story and more you can head on over to and be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter as well. As always, my name is Maria Sosyan, thank you for watching and
I’ll see you again very soon.

100 thoughts on “Here’s How Child Abuse Scandal & Grooming Allegations Against French Writer Were Ignored For Decades”

  1. 😂😂 Denise Bombardier 😂😂 She's very hated in her own province. Recently, that old lady wrote an article where she compared tattooed people to pedophiles and drug addicts, etc. She's nuts and perhaps racist.

  2. i'm french and yes there is a double standard 
    it's truly disgusting and appalling
    thank you for the video and your input i learned a lot even if it made my stomach turn

  3. I wish I could say this surprises me but it doesn't most people would rather do what is popular rather than what they think is right it doesn't take an abundance of logic to come to the conclusion that taking advantage of someone who has less experience than you is wrong

  4. Make a base AoC at 16 – 18, and establish close in age exemptions for ages below that. Allows autonomy for teenagers in romantic relationships with each other, but still makes sure pedos get the book thrown at them. Here's how it's done in Canada, where I'm from:

    12/13: You can consent to sexual activity but only with someone less than 2 years older than you. You can't consent if you are drunk or high. You can't consent if you're being exploited or groomed.

    14/15: You can consent to sexual activity, but only with someone less than 5 years older than you. You can't consent if you are drunk of high. You can't consent if you were exploited or groomed.

    16: You can consent to sexual activity with anyone older than you, or anyone who is 14 or 15, but if your partner is an authority figure, or if you are dependent on your partner in some way, you can't consent and it's considered statutory rape. You cannot consent if the relationship is exploitative or if you were groomed. You can't consent if you're drunk or high.

    18: You can consent unless you are too intoxicated (drunk/high) to consent. The youngest your partner can be is 14.


    If you want it in French, replace the /eng/ with /fr/.

    Edit: typos

  5. and these are the people/pedo's where third wave feminism comes from, the 2 nonces @6:08 are literally their heroes who started this nonsense, a few bad apples? the whole lot of em signed their name demanding that the law be changed so adults could have sex with children (the legal age in france was 15 at this time!) Think im making this up cos im a nazi or something? look it up it's all true and absolutely disgusting the things that went on

  6. I'm actually in support of letting teens who are 16 and above be sexually active, but only with other people between the ages of 16 and 20; and even then those 18-20 would need consent from the teens parents for it to be ok.
    Horny teenagers are gonna have sex whether you want them to or not, that's why we have teen pregnancies; I know I would have back when I was a teen if given the chance regardless of what my parents or the law said. puberty is a bitch.

  7. Free speech and admission of crime aren't the same thing. "I think x illegal thing should be y" is not the same as saying "I did x all the time because it's so great".

  8. That's disgusting.. this is why the world has problems with elites and the wealthy ignoring and stepping above the laws that were meant to protect us. That is why I'm quite supportive of the death penalty for those rotten people.

  9. i think legally he can't be put on trial for promoting pedophilia, because of freedom of speech and the historical context he wrote in. I do however think he should be a) prosecuted for having sex with minors, including self-confessed 8-14 boys in south asia even they can not be produced because again self-confessed. even if its not for statutory rape, it should be for like being a danger to the public
    b)stripped of all his titles and achievements
    c) live the rest of his life completely austricied

  10. I HAVE to comment. You KEEP saying Pedophilia, but then proceed to say 14-16 year olds. This is the definition of Ephebophilia (girls 14-19). There is another term Hebephilia which is children 9-13 years old. Pedophilia is children under 9 years old. I figured you guys would fact check this term before using it consistently through the video. NONE are defensible, but at least have your terms right.

  11. I am absolutely shrieking from his comment about how he had sex with children who were mostly sex trafficked and taken advantage of. Holly fuck goes to show you how people with power get away with almost EVERYTHING. Tragic and sad.

  12. That was crazy. Just goes to show, the wealthy can get away with a lot, under the guise of being superior. Maybe the epsteins and Weinsteins of the world will finally face the consequences, maybe.

  13. Notice how the vast majority of people that push these values, are old, crusty, past their prime degenerates?
    I have never seen a young beautiful member of this "club". At least not one that didn't end up wearing the scars that only sexual abuse, and exploitation leave on someone.

  14. He said he didn't want to read the book because he had fond memories of her and he doesn't want to tarnish it…. That's how out of it he is.

  15. French here, actually only started hearing of this in the media recently, but I feel pedophilaie, often hidden, is common in french "modern litterature". For example in school when I was 13, we read "Ravage" by Barjavel, at the end of which the main protagonist is more than 90, has seven wives including one really young and already pragnant a few moths later… and the teacher didn't use this as a discussion starter on how wrong it is etc! it was kind of left "he has 7 wives, hundreds of sons, only one daughter, so?". More than 10 years later I am still shocked by the book and the age at which they had us read it… I really feel that toxic human interactiobns in litterature are "swept under the rug" in "great writers" works.

  16. I am french. I didn't know this guy or this story.
    I am pretty sure that I am in the majority. There is no culture of pedophilia in France.
    There is a so called "elite" of writer and thinker with a deep love for communist idea and "social justice" doctrine born out may 68.
    Those same guys were praising Stalline and the URSS right until it wasn't socially acceptable anymore once the truth about the horror of communism, the million of death and the goulag became public knowledge. It is the same thing here.
    It isn"t about french society or culture, it's about a specific intelectuel movement.
    What is scary is that those writer are now studied in american college even so nobody care about them in France.

  17. I live in France and it is incredibly hard over here to be taken seriously when it comes to sexual assault, rape… Let alone grooming. It isn’t even recognised most of the time. They just see it as a relationship, no matter how it happened. So I’m honestly not surprised, but i am disgusted.

  18. Hi french Canadian here, although i rarely agree with madame Bombardiers views, she was and still is one of the most vocal women on feminism in Québec.

  19. I'm sorry, is everyone just ignoring that the thumbnail and title just state "french writer" instead of his actual name like it's an incomplete mad lib?

  20. Casandra Krammer Design

    There need to be more open discussions abourt pedophilia in general. We nned to protect children from abuse but we also must help thoes that suffor from phisical attaction to children and giving them other outlets, helping them with therapy and treatments. :/

  21. a couple hundred years ago, "children" were working in factories, making very important decisions, and supporting their families. Today, the toughest decisions that the vast majority of minors ever make (before college selection) is what they'll wear in the morning. They are incapable of weighing pros and cons to the extent that an adult would in order to make competent decisions. They have experienced little; therefore, they know and understand little. To argue that a minor is capable of being a "sexual being" is outlandish. Most children are incapable of providing consent for much of anything, which is why we protect them and make decisions on their behalf. The exact "age of enlightenment" is going to be different for everyone, but laws can't exist in a case-by-case sort of way. There must be a hard defined age of consent for things, and in our infantilized society where teenagers are given less and less responsibility and demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of basic world concepts, that age is likely rising, not falling.

  22. Every book I had to read through high school had weird sexual stuff in it like this. There's a weird normalization of it so I'm not surprised. It always made the girls uncomfortable, not to mention killed our passion for reading.

  23. I'm French and I have no idea what the titles of the French books you're naming are until you say them again in English. A for effort on the accent though.

  24. As said by Phil himself on many an occasion, throw them all into a firepit. Pedophiles should not be allowed to live, let alone try to spread their ideas through a public format.

  25. To be fair, 14-16 is legally pedophilia (depending on the country/state/whatnot), but in technical definitions of words, it's actually "Ephebophilia"

  26. This is sad but why does no one mention all these parents who want fame and fortune for their kids so badly they surrender them to programs without proper supervision.

  27. French culture is weird, man. There was a super famous song that the singer Serge Gainsbourg sang with his underage daughter that was an ode to incest. So this story totally doesn't surprise me.

  28. French Academia is disgusting, always has been and sadly seems to show no signs of changing. The defense of the grooming gangs by some European Academics and college elites is particularly gross.

  29. I'm surprised to hear sensible words coming from Denise Bombardier's mouth. Lately, she's been completely out of the game!
    That situation makes me sick, this mentality of doing whatever you want with anyone because you're famous has to stop. And giving them free passes because they are "geniuses" in their art. I'm also shocked to see all those well known french authors being publicly on his side. Makes me want to throw some books in the fire, that's for sure -__-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *