It's over for Benjamin Griveaux. The former secretary of state to the Minister of Economy and Finance announced the withdrawal of his candidacy for mayor of Paris this Thursday, a month before the first round, after the dissemination of intimate videos attributed to him.
An article published on February 1, and hosted on a site created in November 2019, has been relayed since Thursday evening on social networks. In it, two close-up sequences show a man masturbating, as well as screenshots of messages exchanged in the tone of the drag.
The Russian activist who has taken refuge in France, Piotr Pavlenski, who signed the article in question and claims the dissemination of the images, told Liberation that he wanted to "denounce the hypocrisy" of the former government spokesman. "He claims to have this video from a source who had a consensual relationship with Benjamin Griveaux," writes the newspaper. The lawyer of the ex-candidate LREM, Me Richard Malka, announced "that he will continue all the publications which will violate the private life", while ensuring that "the question of knowing if this video is authentic or not does not ( l) 'not interested'.
What is the crime?
"It is popularly called revenge porn", as the lawyer at the Paris bar Avi Bitton explains to us. Created in 2016 by article 226-2-1 of the Penal Code, this offense consists, in the absence of a person's agreement for dissemination, to bring to the attention of the public or a third party any recording or any document relating to words or images of a sexual nature, obtained, with the express or presumed consent of the person or by himself.
“In fact, in this case, it doesn't matter that Benjamin Griveaux, if it is him, filmed himself voluntarily. It doesn't matter that Benjamin Griveaux shared these videos with another person. The offense is constituted from the moment when, without his consent, these elements are disseminated to the knowledge of others, ”explains Me Avi Bitton.
Who can be sued?
"Piotr Pavlenski, if he transmitted these videos on the Internet, could be guilty of the offense," notes the lawyer. Regarding the "source" of the Russian activist, she could also be accused of revenge porn, "if she voluntarily gave the videos to Piotr Pavlenski".
People who, on social networks in particular, share the site link "are also guilty of the offense," said the lawyer. “By reposting content that violates privacy, the Internet user faces the same penalties as the perpetrator. This is for example the case of Joachim Son-Forget, who tweeted the link from the paper.
What is the penalty?
The act of voluntarily invading the privacy of the privacy of others is, depending on the circumstances, punishable by one to two years' imprisonment and a fine of between 45,000 and 60,000 euros. Here, the offense relates to content of a sexual nature. This is an aggravating circumstance and the authors then risk two years in prison and a fine of 60,000 euros.
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“The judges will weigh the responsibilities of each other. The gravity is indeed not the same between transmitting these videos to a third person or bringing them to the attention of the public ”, specifies Me Avi Bitton. “The victim can also claim damages for invasion of his privacy. There, it will fall under the civil. "