There's one fewer person in the race to become Paris' mayor, and an X-rated video is to blame. The Guardian reports that Benjamin Griveaux, an ally of French President Emmanuel Macron and a member of Macron's La Republique En March party, took himself out of the running Friday after sexual video and texts were leaked on social media. "My family does not deserve this," Griveaux said in a statement, noting his family had been victims for over a year of "defamatory remarks, lies, rumors, anonymous attacks, the revelation of stolen private conversations, and death threats." He added: "As if all this was not enough, yesterday a new level was reached." What that "new level" referred to: a video circulating online showing a man performing a sex act on himself, along with what the BBC calls "intimate mobile phone messages"—all reportedly sent by Griveaux to a young woman.
Griveaux, a 42-year-old married father of three, hasn't denied sending them. The lewd content was originally posted online by Russian artist Petr Pavlensky, who's been granted political asylum in France and says he wants to expose Griveaux's "hypocrisy" on family values. Pavlensky has been in headlines before, including for nailing his scrotum to Red Square in a protest. Even though Griveaux wasn't the favorite to win the race, the scandal isn't great news for Macron—the implosion of Griveaux's campaign will likely be seen as an embarrassment to the president. French political leaders of all leanings are standing up for Griveaux. Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon called the attack "odious," while far-right leader Marine Le Pen said maybe Griveaux should've stuck it out in the race. "Nobody should ever be subjected to this kind of abuse," Griveaux said in his statement. (Read more Paris stories.)