July 4, 2022

Pierre Ménès, former columnist of Canal +, is placed in police custody on the count of sexual assault

He left Canal + after the broadcast, in the spring, of a documentary on sexism in the editorial staff. He was the most peremptory, the most divisive and the most publicized voice of French football journalism. As part of an investigation for a sexual assault, which he denies, Pierre Ménès was placed in police custody on Thursday, December 9. The former star columnist, 58, has been heard since Thursday morning at the first judicial police district, “At the request of the prosecution”, said a source familiar with the matter. He was taken into police custody Thursday morning on the count of sexual assault, the Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed, after information from the Parisian.

At the end of the PSG-Nantes match on November 20, in Paris, a woman reported to the police acts of sexual assault for which Mr. Ménès would be responsible, without filing a complaint. According to The Parisian, he would have touched the breast of a hostess. Charges that he denies. The same day, the Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation. “To date, we have six testimonies which clear Pierre Ménès from customs and we have filed a complaint for slanderous denunciation”, his lawyer, Arash Derambarsh, said Thursday, who confirmed the custody.

“Impeccable behavior”

Mr. Ménès produced three certificates of persons “Unanimously confirming that[il] spent all of his time by their side as soon as he arrived for the cocktail in the box, during the match and the post-match cocktail “, according to the complaint consulted by Agence France-Presse (AFP). “They confirm that absolutely nothing happened and that Mr. Ménès behaved flawlessly”, according to this document. “My client asked to be auditioned to show his perfect innocence during this evening of November 20 at the Parc des Princes. Five people testified about his irreproachable behavior including a police officer ”, Mr. Derambarsh had declared on December 2.

Sidelined at the end of March after accusations of sexual assault, the former columnist star of the “Canal Football Club” left the 1is last July the encrypted channel, putting an end to nearly twelve years of collaboration. This departure is the consequence of the broadcast, on March 21 on Canal +, of a documentary on sexism in sports newsrooms and the revelation of incriminating sequences, cut during the editing at the request of the channel, suspected of having it. protected. Pierre Ménès is notably accused of having lifted, off the air, in 2016 the skirt of journalist Marie Portolano, co-director of the documentary.

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He says he does not remember it because of serious health problems at the time: a non-alcoholic cirrhosis which kept him away from the plateaus for seven months and required a double transplant of the liver and a kidney. He is also criticized for having forcibly kissed journalist Isabelle Moreau on television in 2011, as well as columnist Francesca Antoniotti in 2016.

“We can’t say anything more”

Facts that took place before the #metoo wave, from which “We can no longer say anything, we can no longer do anything”, he lamented in Cyril Hanouna’s show on C8. Despite the “Deep regrets” then expressed, these accusations cost him his collaboration with the game FIFA, to which he lent his voice.

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On the Canal + side, an internal investigation has been launched, the results of which are not yet known. The shock wave generated by Marie Portolano’s documentary was felt in other editors. In eleven years of collaboration, he says he was summoned once, in 2018, to go “I quit” on his “Reflections”, and having received a warning last year for an interview given, without permission, on YouTube.

In 2020, the columnist was the subject of a judicial investigation in Nanterre for “moral harassment” following a complaint – after a previous one closed without action – from his former assistant Emmanuel Trumer, who accuses him of“Homophobia” and of ” racism “. In return, he sued him for libel. In October, he launched a digital platform dedicated to football with Reworld Media, Pierrot Le Foot.

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The World with AFP