Activist artist Pyotr Pavlensky and girlfriend held for leaking politician sex tape

Pyotr Pavlensky

Russian artist Pyotr Pavlensky and his girlfriend Alexandra de Taddeo are being held and questioned by French authorities over the release of a sexually explicit video and text messages, which forced French politician and member of Emmanuel Macron’s La Republique en Marche (LREM) Benjamin Griveaux to step down from his bid to be mayor. Ms de Taddeo was initially taken into custody on Saturday following an invasion of privacy complaint filed by Griveaux. On Sunday, France’s Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn stepped down from her role and announced she was replacing Griveaux as the LREM mayoral candidate.

Pavlensky was detained on charges stemming from a separate incident but has since admitted to releasing the video and messages, telling AFP he did so to expose the hypocrisy of Griveaaux whom he claims ‘constantly brings up family values, who says he wants to be the mayor of families and always cites his wife and children as an example’. He went on to state that this is the first exposé on what will be a ‘political porn’ website he has created to unveil the double lives of politicians. 

Pavlensky has appeared in the news for his activist art before, most notably in 2013 when he nailed himself by his scrotum to the cobblestones in front of the Red Square in Moscow, protesting the Russian government. In 2015 he was arrested for setting alight the doors of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). 

Pavlensky has resided in France since 2017 where he sought asylum amid sexual assault allegations. 

17 February 2020