An investigation for suspicion of sexual assault was opened in Paris after a complaint was filed by a former BFMTV / RMC journalist against journalist Jean-Jacques Bourdin who launched a new political program on Tuesday evening with the main candidates for the Elysee.
After the revelation in Le Parisien on Saturday of a complaint for sexual assault for facts dating from 2013, the management of Altice Media, owner of the channel, had supported the 72-year-old host while saying he was ready to take “all the measures that may be necessary” depending on the “evolution” of this case.
Asked by AFP, the Paris prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday that it had opened an investigation for “sexual assault”, entrusted to the police station of the 16th arrondissement, about this complaint filed by a former journalist from BFMTV / RMC in this same police station.
– “Hierarchical ascendant” –
According to the complaint consulted by AFP, this 33-year-old woman, who worked for several years with Mr. Bourdin on the morning show of the channel, claims that he “grabbed her neck”, ” brought her face “to his” and “tried to kiss (him) several times”, without “succeeding”, in the swimming pool of a hotel in Calvi (Haute-Corse) in October 2013.
She would have “struggled” and managed to get out of the pool. Mr. Bourdin would then have said: “I always get what I want”, “a threat from someone who had a hierarchical ascendant” according to her.
Then he would have sent her “for several months” insistent emails and SMS, adds the journalist who says he “was constantly in fear” until his departure from the group in 2017.
According to the complaint, the journalist “found the courage to talk about it (…) with the release of the woman’s speech and the Nicolas Hulot affair”, targeted since the end of November by a preliminary investigation for “rape and sexual assault”.
“We are delighted” with the opening of this investigation, reacted the lawyer for the complainant, Me Laure Heinich.
The host denied these accusations. “I know this person, and I have worked with her. I admit having bathed with her in the swimming pool of this hotel. But I have never tried to kiss her by force, neither her nor anyone else. ‘other,’ he replied to Le Parisien on Saturday.
These facts, more than eight years old, are possibly prescribed because the prescription in this matter is six years.
A figure of BFM TV, the journalist reiterated his position on Tuesday evening at the start of the launch on this channel of his new political program “La France dans les yeux” – an interview conducted in the regions and live with the main candidates for the Elysée.
“I have decided not to speak on this subject; I dispute the facts reported by the press and I let justice do its job”, he reacted to Valérie Pécresse, his first guest.
The presidential candidate LR had conditioned her participation on an “introductory remark” at the start of the program, “which BFMTV accepted”, had indicated those around her.
“I respect the presumption of innocence”, indicated Ms. Pécresse, but wishing “to tell him things to his face”, she added that “if these accusations are proven, they are serious and they must be condemned”.
– “Relevance” of maintaining the antenna –
Following the revelations, the Altice Media group, owner of RMC and BFMTV, announced on Sunday that it was launching an internal investigation, in particular “to ensure that no facts of this type have been brought to the attention of managers or colleagues. interested parties (complainant and respondents)”.
“We are not minimizing this accusation, nor giving it a disproportionate dimension”, declared Sunday to the Parisian Marc-Olivier Fogiel, director general of BFMTV, whose device for the presidential election gives a central place to Jean-Jacques Bourdin.
“There is nothing preventing Jean-Jacques Bourdin from doing his job. A simple complaint does not justify disqualifying someone,” he added.
Requested Tuesday by AFP, the Altice group did not wish to make a new comment.
The SDJs of BFMTV, RMC and RMC Sport for their part questioned themselves on Sunday “about the relevance of keeping Jean-Jacques Bourdin on the air during the investigation”.
Dismissed from the RMC morning show in the summer of 2020 after 19 years of service, Jean-Jacques Bourdin is leading his last season at the head of the flagship political interview at 8:30 a.m. Known for his uncompromising interviews, he started as a sports journalist on RTL in 1976.