Ouch: France To Unveil A Statue Depicting Carla Bruni As … A Working Woman

Carla Bruni certainly made her mark as one of the more, uh, contentious first ladies ever to hit French office: the longtime singer and model, not to mention the heiress to an industrial dynasty, made ceaseless waves with her swank wardrobe, party-girl past, and dubious intentions when she wed recently divorced French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007. Sarkozy vacated office earlier this year (in favor of François Hollande, whose own live-in girlfriend has stirred up quite a bit of national strife herself), but his disheartening political demise was far and away from the last we’ve seen of the couple — Mr. and Mrs. Sarkozy have recently found themselves mired in allegations of corruption over illegal cash donations the former president may or may not have received from Liliane Bettencourt, the heiress to L’Oreal and France’s richest woman. And if you thought the disgraced couple’s public humiliation saturation point had maxed out (one would assume, after their mansion and offices were raided by police last month), well, it’s time to reconsider.

In a move that is guaranteed to offend even the most right-leaning French citizens and incite a thorough hacking-to-pieces by the nation’s media, a new statue in Nogent-sur-Marne bears the face of Carla Bruni portrayed as a “plumassiere,” a female labor worker in one of Nogent’s former feather factories. A local Socialist politician calls the tribute “grotesque … an insult to the feather workers, to give them the face of an extremely rich person.” The statue has remained hidden from public view since its delivery last week, and Nogent’s local council officials admitted that the statue’s inauguration, to which neither Bruni nor her husband are invited, would be “difficult.” Worse still, Bruni-Sarkozy’s own staff has made a point of denouncing the statue’s significance: “Carla isn’t Joan of Arc or General de Gaulle. Carla is a former model,” a spokesman for her camp publicly noted. Talk about embarrassing — un chanson triste for Bruni, indeed. [Telegraph] [Photo: Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair]