French Environmental Minister Denies Sexual Harassment Accusations
Environmental Minister Nicolas Hulot, one of the most popular members of President Macron’s cabinet, has denied rumors of sexual harassment.
Currently, the identity of the accuser is anonymous, but Ebdo magazine will release a statement in their Friday edition from the victim. According to sources, the victim is was a 20-year-old woman from a well-known French political family. She told authorities in 2008 of a sexual assault incident that took place in 1997. The woman’s father added that his daughter “never used the word rape in front of me,” but described the incident as an act of coercion.
This comes after prosecutors reopened an inquiry last month into rape allegations against Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin. Rumors have circulated over the past few weeks after a woman accused Mr. Darmanin of pressuring her into sex in 2009 in exchange for helping her clear her name in a legal dispute.
Mr. Hulot has denied what he called, “shameful” rumors when he appeared on French BFMTV this past Thursday, adding, “It hurts, when it’s wrongful and unfounded. Yesterday, my children were in tears.”
Ebdo magazine has also claimed that a former employee of Mr. Hulot’s environmental foundation spoke about an accusation of sexual harassment, which he has also denied. However, when the woman was contacted by the magazine, she “[also] completely denied having spoken about sexual harassment.”
Mr. Hulot has stated that he is not considering resigning, and French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe has issued a message of support, stating: “[There is] no reason to doubt his word…Nicolas Hulot has expressed with sincerity and emotion on the rumors of which it is the object for several days. His explanations were clear and precise, and we have no reason to doubt his word.”
Until the magazine’s article is revealed, the French public has continued its debate regarding Mr. Hulot’s sexual harassment accusations. He has admitted that the woman filed a complaint in 2008, but that the case had been immediately dismissed.
“I was questioned at my own request and investigators very quickly concluded that there was nothing suggesting the case should be followed up,” he said.