Being at the mercy of immigrant maids in a $3000 a night hotel is not everybody's cup of tea.
Dec 8, 2011 3:27 PM EST
France buzzed Thursday over the leak of videotapes showing Sofitel workers briefly celebrating after calling police to report an alleged sexual attack by DSK, but the most important video clip may be of the maid herself, who reported the attack.
The first hotel-security video footage from the day Dominique Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper was leaked to the public Thursday, and France was aflutter over a scene showing two hotel-security workers briefly celebrating after reporting the incident to police. But the more important footage may prove to be of the accuser herself.
The security footage from New York City’s luxury Sofitel Hotel shows housekeeper Nafissatou Diallo in animated fashion as she reenacts for a supervisor part of the alleged sexual assault, then sits sedately outside the hotel-security office as her superiors decided to phone police the afternoon of May 14, 2011, about an hour after she reported the alleged attack.
The footage is the first to emerge publicly of Diallo on that fateful day. It was long ago turned over to Strauss-Kahn’s defense lawyers and the New York City prosecutors, who originally charged DSK with sexual assault and attempted rape in May and then dropped the criminal case three months later because of concerns about Diallo’s credibility.
The hotel-security footage suddenly appeared on the French network BFMTV, just days after a new book emerged in France purporting to give the former IMF director’s side of the story. Strauss-Kahn’s supporters are trying to show he may have been set up by hotel workers for the incident, and an article in the New York Review of Books earlier this month first mentioned the footage showing two security officials jumping into the air in celebration shortly after calling police. That article, however, was later corrected when it erroneously reported the celebration lasted three minutes. In fact, the celebration lasted only eight seconds of a 13-second clip, and the workers have told their hotel superiors they were simply relieved to have finished their investigation and believed they were talking about sports at the time, The Daily Beast previously reported.
Magazine poll names Strauss-Kahn wife 'Woman of the Year'
(AFP) – 16 hours ago
PARIS — Dominique Strauss-Kahn's wife Anne Sinclair, who stood by the disgraced former IMF chief during his sex scandal, was named Woman of the Year in a poll for a French woman's magazine on Monday.
Sinclair, a 63-year-old French journalist and wealthy art heiress, was chosen as the woman who had most "made her mark" in 2011 in the CSA poll for online women's magazine Terrafemina.
She scored 25 percent support among the 10 female personalities that respondents were asked to rank, followed by current IMF chief Christine Lagarde with 24 percent and the former contender to be the Socialist party candidate in next year's presidential vote, Martine Aubry, with 23 percent.
French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy scored 16 percent support while at the bottom of the list was writer Tristane Banon, who had accused Strauss-Kahn of an attempted rape in 2003, with four percent.
Strauss-Kahn was forced to resign as the head of the International Monetary Fund following accusations of sexually assaulting a hotel maid in New York, a scandal that made headlines worldwide.
The charges were dropped in August but the scandal halted his ambitions for the French presidency.
In the Banon case, prosecutors ruled that while Strauss-Kahn had admitted to acts "that could be qualified as sexual assault", the statute of limitations on such an offence was only three years.
Sinclair publicly stood by her husband during the scandal, appearing regularly at his side.
Eva Joly, the Green Party presidential candidate who came seventh in the poll with 11 percent support, said the result reflected outdated views of women in French society.
"I find it quite alarming, incredible even, that she can be considered more popular than the IMF's Christine Lagarde -- a female politician of the first rank," Joly told i-Tele television.
"I find this sad -- it represents concepts of life and male-female relations that are very, very outdated," Joly said.
The poll of 1,005 people, both men and women, was conducted by telephone on December 6 and 7.
Strauss-Kahn returned to public life Monday with an economic forum speech in Beijing, where he delivered a 45-minute address on the dangers facing debt-burdened Europe
Yes and in the mean time the crisis in the EU keep getting worst and worst with the last bit of news is the UK refusing to place more funds into the IMF.
One of the least fun parts of being a feminist is the gradual process of accepting that women's reactions to their subordinate social situation are not always ennobling. Outspoken feminists tend to be drawn to images of ass-kicking ladies, both of the fantasy sort (Buffy!) and the real-life sort (Gloria!), and so discovering that large portions of the female population still have an image of the long-suffering martyr as the ultimate in female heroics? Well, it's just disappointing. Why would anyone think it's more heroic to be known as someone who takes a bunch of crap from a man and says, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" as opposed to someone who throws it back in his face and walks out the door? I have no idea, but yet again, we're seeing a woman celebrated for standing by her man in the face of mounting public humiliation. Anne Sinclair, the wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, was named France's Woman of the Year by Terrafemina, a French women's magazine. And it was women voters who pushed her over the top, as male voters picked Christine Lagarde, who replaced Strauss-Kahn at the IMF after he was charged with raping a hotel maid in Manhattan.
Politicians know how powerful the image of the martyred wife is, which is why dragging the angry, tortured wife up on the podium with you while apologizing for illicit or criminal sexual behavior is so standard that it becomes news if the wife refuses. Hillary Clinton knows intimately how being perceived as a martyr standing by your man can drastically improve the public's view of you. Prior to the revelations of Bill Clinton's cheating in the White House, Hillary was one of the most divisive public figures in America, perceived as an independent feminist and feared for it. The intense public humiliation she suffered changed the equation dramatically; while the hard right was always going to hate her, Clinton becamse a beloved figure to the rest of the country. Ironically, she used the pity-induced popularity to start a career as a straight-up strong woman politician, and now she seems mostly beloved for exactly who she is. But it all started for her when the country fell in love with Hillary-the-martyr, and that she was able to turn it into something better than that is a testament to her perseverance.
There's good news here. A public martyring may be losing its appeal to a new generation of women who had the benefit of feminism from the cradle. Sinclair's popularity is strongest with women 50 and over in France. Wives have opted out of the podium march in a couple of recent American sex scandals, notably ones involving Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Anthony Weiner of New York, and they were able to do so without any public castigation for being bad women. Of course, their husbands also saw their political careers come to an end, suggesting that a humiliated wife might still be a necessary ingredient for public support to stay behind a politician caught up in a sex scandal. But hopefully younger generations of women will find nothing heroic about suffering in silence, and start looking more toward women who stand up and speak out when looking for heroes
You mean one who knows upon which side her bread is buttered I sauppose?
NEW YORK (AP) — The prosecutor who charged Dominique Strauss-Kahn with sexually assaulting a hotel maid said Wednesday he dropped the case because he ultimately wasn't sure what transpired between the two.
"I determined that I was no longer convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that I knew what happened — not that something didn't happen, but whether we, as an office, knew beyond a reasonable doubt what happened," Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said at a law firm forum. ".... We did not have that quantum of confidence.
Operators of the biggest hotels in New York City have agreed to a long-term contract that will give hotel housekeepers and other employees significant pay raises, fully paid health coverage, larger pension contributions and one unusual benefit: personal panic buttons.
The security devices would summon help if hotel staff encounter danger in a guest’s room — a possibility that was brought into sharp relief when a hotel housekeeper accused the French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexually assaulting her in his suite at the Sofitel New York last year.
The provision in the proposed contract calls for the hotels to equip certain employees with “devices to be carried on their persons at work that they can quickly and easily activate to effectively summon prompt assistance to their location.” The devices, which will be distributed within a year to housekeepers, room-service waiters and even the attendants who stock the minibars, may vary from hotel to hotel for technical reasons, but all will serve the basic purpose of calling for help. No estimate of the cost of the equipment was available on Tuesday.
“It’s a very cost-efficient and simple way to keep hotel workers safe,” said Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman, a Queens Democrat who sponsored a bill last year to require hotels to provide such equipment. “After what happened last year and what we learned happens all too often in hotels, we’re very grateful that the hotels have agreed to essentially adopt the premise of our legislation.”
Neither union officials nor representatives of the hotel owners would say that the provision was a result of the Strauss-Kahn episode, which ended with charges against him being dropped in August after prosecutors decided that the accuser, Nafissatou Diallo, was not credible.
Nonetheless, after the arrest of Mr. Strauss-Kahn last spring, the Sofitel and another Manhattan hotel, the Pierre, said that they would provide some sort of panic buttons to their staff members. A spokeswoman for the Pierre, Nora Walsh, said on Tuesday that the hotel was “implementing the communication system,” but declined to share any details.
The panic buttons may prove to be the least costly of the provisions in the new contract, whose terms were presented on Tuesday evening to the 30,000 members of the New York Hotel Trades Council A.F.L.-C.I.O. The seven-year contract has been approved by the board of the Hotel Association of New York and is scheduled to be ratified by the union’s members on Monday.
The deal would include annual raises that would increase wages by 29 percent over the life of the contract. Those increases would raise the pay of a typical housekeeper to $59,823 per year, from $46,337 today, said John Turchiano, a hotel union spokesman.
The proposal would also guarantee that the members continue to receive medical, dental and optical insurance for themselves and their families with no out-of-pocket costs to them, not even co-payments to doctors, Mr. Turchiano said. In addition, the hotel owners would gradually increase their contributions to the members’ pensions to 10.5 percent of total payroll, from 9 percent.
Asked what concessions the union made in return, Peter Ward, president of the council, said, “We didn’t give up anything.
Former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been detained for questioning by French police investigating a prostitution ring.
Mr Strauss-Kahn, once a front-runner for the French presidency, could be held for 48 hours at a police station in Lille, northern France