France’s Culture Minister Frederique Mitterrand has refused to resign and has hit back at his critics in the main evening television news bulletin. In his 2005 autobiography, “The Bad life”, which caused not a ripple of scandal on its publication and racked up healthy sales, he admitted to homosexual sex with consenting young males in Thailand.
He has defended Roman Polanski, but now has to defend himself from accusations of being a sex tourist and paedophile: “Yes, it’s true I had relationships with boys. We know that, I haven’t hidden it. But we mustn’t mix up homosexuality with paedophilia, or we’ll be back in the Stone Age. I absolutely condemn sex tourism. It is utterly shameful. I also condemn paedophilia, something I have never participated in, and all the people who accuse me of this should be ashamed of themsleves,” he said. France’s extreme right-wing Front Nationale has called for him to be sacked, but Mitterrand says he has the support of President Sarkozy, one of whose advisors called the furore “pathetic”.