In a Facebook posting, French Minister environment minister François de Rugy says he quit after he was subjected to a media ‘lynching’ for a week.
He accused an investigative website Mediapart of attacking him based on stolen pictures and fabrication of stories.
“The attacks and media lynching targeting my family forces me to take the necessary step back… I presented my resignation to the prime minister this morning,” said Mr de Rugy on Facebook.He was worried at new attacks after he was subjected a new line of firing questions on the activities he is accused of.
The website accused him and his journalist wife enjoying lavish champagne-and-lobster dinners and a Valentine’s Day meal while he was speaker of parliament way back in 2017.
Mr de Rugy acknowledges hosting the meals, saying it was normal for the National Assembly’s speaker, but has pointed out that he does not like lobster.
“I don’t like it, I don’t eat it, I have an intolerance for shellfish,” he previously told BFMTV.
“I don’t like oysters… I hate caviar, and champagne gives me a headache.”
Mr de Rugy says he has had filed a legal complaint against the Mediapart website for defamation, accusing it of having a desire “to harm, smear and destroy” and President Macron says his move to quit is a “personal decision” which he respected.
This will free him to defend himself, the French Presidential Palace says.
“I think of my wife and of my family, whom I want to protect with my difficult decision.
“I also want to say ‘à bientôt’. (I will be back!).
He wrote: More than ever, it is the fight for the Republic and for ecology that interests me.
Mediapart also accused him of benefitting from an apartment near his hometown of Nantes in western France that was rented at a preferential rate intended for low-income workers.
There was reference to a 500-euro hairdryer bought by de Rugy’s wife at public expense and a renovation of their government apartment at a cost of 63,000 euros ($70,000).