Whether or not you believe Dominique Strauss-Kahn sexually assaulted a hotel maid in New York City this spring (and I, personally, believe that he did), we can all agree the former head of the International Monetary Fund is a sleazy dude. Not long after he was accused by Nafissatou Diallo, a Guinean immigrant, of forcing her to perform oral sex, a French journalist named Tristane Banon spoke out and said Strauss-Kahn attempted to rape her back in 2003 when she came to interview him at a Paris apartment. Not too long after, the French newspaper Le Parisien reported that Air France had an unofficial policy of only allowing men to work in first class when Strauss-Kahn flew because he routinely sexually harassed their stewardesses, like the time he allegedly told one woman, “What a nice ass!” So I’m not too surprised to read on Slate.com that France’s Journal du Dimanche newspaper claims the ex-IMF chief has allegedly been linked to a French prostitution ring.
Strauss-Kahn — whose hopes of running for the French presidency may have been dashed when he was accused of sexual assault in the U.S. — denied any connection to a prostitution ring in France and Belgium. His lawyer told the Associated Press the rumors are just “insinuations and extrapolations.” However, Journal du Dimanche claims he was a client and “that a French police officer was tasked with escorting its prostitutes from the city of Lille to New York to have sex with DSK.”
Journal du Dimanche isn’t the only one claiming Strauss-Kahn has a taste for sex workers: Kristin Davis, a famous Manhattan madam, claimed in May that she supplied him with escorts when he visited NYC in 2006 to attend the Clinton Global Initiative. The madam, who also supplied escorts favored by former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, said Strauss-Kahn paid $1,200 cash for two-hour sessions and requested “an ‘All-American girl’ with a fresh face from the Midwest.” Davis also painted Strauss-Kahn as behaving in an ungentlemanly manner with the sex workers he hired: “A girl in January 2006 complained he was rough and angry, and said she didn’t want to see him again.”
Dominique Strauss-Kahn continues to be accused of bad behavior towards women — ones he’s allegedly hired for their time as well as ones he’s chanced upon opportunistically — but is like Teflon to criminal charges. The charges against him for the alleged sexual assault on Diallo were dropped after she was found to have lied about certain things on her immigration asylum paperwork; in France, an investigation into Banon’s accusations was also dropped due to lack of evidence. Likewise, every accusation is downplayed by him and his legal team, and some accusers, like Diallo, see themselves subjected to smears. It’s getting quite repetitive — and sad — to watch.
None of us know for sure what Strauss-Kahn has and hasn’t done. But when I read news stories about him like this, I get a twinge of the “Charlie Sheen effect”: it sounds so in line with other icky things that he’s been accused of that you assume it’s probably as true (and as bad) as it sounds. Even though I know that’s “wrong” in the “innocent until proven guilty” court of public opinion, he’s done absolutely nothing to convince me he is actually the victim of some grave character assassination-slash-misunderstanding. DSK is still facing a civil lawsuit in the Bronx for his alleged sexual assault against Diallo, so perhaps, in time, we will see if any accusations will stick.
Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.