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Paris mayoral candidate quits amid alleged scandal

– After release of sex video, Macron-backed candidate Griveaux announces he will not run in municipal elections this March

By Cindi Cook

PARIS (AA) – A front runner for the top municipal post of Paris dropped out of the race Friday morning amid release of a sex video on social media on Wednesday night.

Benjamin Griveaux, a candidate from the La Republique En Marche (LRM) party, announced he is withdrawing his candidacy for mayor of Paris. The decision comes after the public release of a sex video on Wednesday evening on a website by Russian artist Piotr Pavlenski. The video reveals private sexual images of Griveaux and a woman, whom Pavlenski claims to be the "source" for the video, and with whom Pavlenski alleged Griveaux had a consensual relationship.

In a televised announcement Friday, Griveaux denied the allegations, and said: "A website and social networks have launched vile attacks concerning my private life. My family does not deserve this. No one should ever be subjected to such an abuse."

The former candidate tells that for over a year, he and his family have suffered anonymous attacks, lies, rumors, and even death threats.

"I do not want to expose myself and my family anymore. This decision costs me, but my priority is clear, it is my family."

In his bid for mayor, Griveaux received the backing of President Emmanuel Macron as the two hail from the same political party. Griveaux met with Macron Thursday night regarding the matter. The president had pledged his support, regardless of his decision.

Elections are to be held in March. The top candidates remaining in the mayoral elections are Anne Hidalgo, the current mayor and Cedric Villani, a mathematician and fellow LRM party member.

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