ER Editor: The TV discussion forums here in France have been all over this one, with an actual defence being made of the elites who ‘feel they could die at any moment so they just want to live normally one last time’. You couldn’t make this up. Clearly there is no threatening virus.
The tweeted video below is worth viewing even if you can’t read the French subtitles.
The address is secret, entry can only be made on the say-so of someone else if you’re not already known to them. The menu runs from 160 euros at minimum up to 490 per person. The chef cooks for celebrities, not the general public. Everybody takes off their masks; once you’re past the door, there is no Covid. It’s a private club; we want people to feel as if they’re at home. Forty guests are present in the video. One unnamed person says they’ve dined 2 or 3 times this week at different, so-called clandestine restaurants with certain government ministers.
Here’s what Patriot Party leader Florian Philippot has to say on twitter:
Translation: ‘103,000 police checks and 10,500 tickets issued this weekend’ according to Darmanin (interior minister). While they ticket us for walking without a mask on the beach, the thugs go about their business quietly and the ministers feast with impunity! They are in war – against the people and them only! Stop!
Rules for thee, not for moi? Probe launched over French media reports on ‘secret dinners for ministers’ that flouted Covid rules
The furor started on Friday evening, after French TV channel M6 aired a report alleging that clandestine dinners had been served at an “underground restaurant located in a beautiful part” of Paris. Hidden camera footage broadcast by the station showed a regular expensive restaurant operating without any regard for the Covid-19 rules – no masks (which are reportedly prohibited on the premises), no social distancing, and no restrictions on the number of guests.
The report was met with outrage from ordinary people who have had to live under strict social distancing rules meant to curb the spread of the virus. Pouring fuel on the flames was an anonymous person who was said to be an organizer of the secret parties, and who claimed to have dined at “two or three restaurants this week,” and saw government ministers doing the same.
The speaker was later identified by the French media as Pierre-Jean Chalencon, the owner of the Palais Vivienne restaurant, which is located in the center of Paris and appears to be the location filmed by M6. With his name exposed to the public, the businessman said he was simply joking when he made the claims, and said he has “an absurdist sense of humor,” adding that he never witnessed any officials partaking in inappropriate meals.
Nevertheless, the Paris chief prosecutor, Remy Heitz, announced on Sunday that his office launched a criminal investigation into the alleged clandestine dining. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he personally asked Heitz to get to the bottom of the situation and prosecute any organizers and participants accordingly.
Some French officials condemned the reported flouting of Covid-19 regulations and said violators should be punished regardless of their rank. “If ministers or deputies have broken the rules, they must pay fines and be penalized like any other citizen,” Marlene Schiappa, who serves as a junior minister attached to Darmanin, said in an interview with Europe 1 radio.
Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said he doubted any top officials would break the rules by partying in secret. The official’s name was mentioned by Chalencon in a video published on YouTube in early February, in which the restaurateur claimed he was expecting “my friend” Attal to come soon to his place for dinner. Attal said he learned about the claim “with astonishment” from Twitter amid the ongoing scandal and denied visiting Chalencon.
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