As you might remember, French president Nicolas Sarkozy used to be married to a very free thinking woman called Cecilia. While still a minister, but already the “chosen one” to succeed the heart attack stricken Jacques Chirac, Mr Sarkozy got a big surprise one morning when he saw pictures of his wife kissing some guy in the streets of New York city plastered on the cover of the biggest news magazine of France : Paris Match.

Paris Match is owned by Hachette Filipacchi, itself owned by the Groupe Laguardere. And heading this magnificent group that also counts in its portfolio banks, insurance companies, arm manufacturing, parts of Airbus and much more, is Arnaud Laguardere. Arnaud is not only a college buddy of Nicolas, he is also a key figure of French foreign policy, weapons being the number one export of France.

One call and the publisher of Paris Match was fired . So much for the freedom of the press. Nicolas Sarkozy has nothing against the press as long as it is respectful to him.

Fast forward. He gets elected, throws a few parties, they wait a little and finally Cecilia files for a divorce and leaves for New York. French President remarries with ex model singer songwriter Carla Bruni who apparently loved to pose naked, according to PDN.

Cecilia reconnects with Richard Attias, the man she was kissing on the cover and they also decide to get married. Being publicity whores themselves, they go shopping to sell their wedding. Their first stop ? Paris Match. Quite obviously, the new editorial team decides to turn them down. For some reason, they end up with Getty Images. Probably because they heard that Getty was affiliated with AFP in France ( partly owned by the French Government) thus making a proxy deal.

Getty Images says yes to the exclusive rights. As customary in this world, they turn around and sell it to French Gala for  60,000 euros ( about $95,000). Not much compared to the  baby pictures of Jlo, Jolie or C. Aguilar, but still a hefty sum. All proceeds, as per agreement, go to charity.

Richard Attias, Ceo of Publicis Events World and Cecilia ex Sarkozy get really, really upset. They didn’t want the money, which they will not see anyway, but the exposure. They made the deal so that they could, especially her, get back to Nicolas and show their happiness all over the french media. But when they wake up this past Monday morning, nothing.

Calls to Getty quickly got them the answer they did not want to hear. Thus they forced Getty to release 3 or 4 images so that non bidders could publish images too. Le Parisien, a populus french daily  for people who love to bet on horses ( which is 96 % of the french population), finally publishes 2 images in its Tuesday edition ( yesterday) for a mere 1,500 Euro (about $2,400) and right under a huge, unrelated headline that reads ” Beware of rotten meat !!”.

Le Parisien coverA few thoughts come to mind:

-Getty should avoid mingling in French sex affairs. It is a lot of pain and no income (remember, all proceeds went to charity)

– What happened to AFP, the supposed exclusive agent of Getty in France?  Partly owned by the French government, did they suddenly retract themselves because it was too hot ?

– Cecilia is no Nicolas. He gets married, its a big deal. She does what she wants, no one really cares. He is the President, after all.

– Exclusives are made to make money, not to get extended coverage. Freebies can help getting you published everywhere. Unless if you are the first born of Angelina Jolie and Bradd Pitt, an exclusive is not the way to go if all you want to do is piss off your ex husband.

– Freedom of the press, in France, is a point of view . Depending on where you are, its definition changes.

Author: pmelcher

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