The New York Times states the obvious with an article today describing how IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn‘s reputation has been blackened by charges of sexual assault and attempted rape against a maid at a New York hotel.
What’s interesting are the multiple reputations that Strauss-Kahn has, both good and bad. In that one Times article, it makes reference to “his reputation as a womanizer,” his “reputation as a skilled, hands-on and tough-minded manager who did not shy from making tough decisions,” and the references to him as a “a caviar socialist…an image that was reinforced recently with the publication of a photo of him stepping into a Porsche in Paris.”
Of course, this isn’t the first political sex scandal the world has ever seen. Silvio Berlusconi managed to hang on to power in Italy despite outrageous scandals involving sex, taxes, and abuse of power (though that may be coming to an end). And on this side of the ocean we’ve had our fair share of political sex scandals, including one unfolding right now. For many politicians, like brands, a public disgrace or a bad rep can be overcome.
But this, certainly, is much more serious.
Already, there are calls for Strauss-Kahn to step down from his post, and his dreams of running for president are likely dashed. Strauss-Kahn has stepped down from his post because of the scandal.
Also taking a beating in the press is Bernard-Henri Levy, the French writer and philosopher who vehemently defended Strauss-Kahn in an article on The Daily Beast and is now the subject of criticism also on The Daily Beast and elsewhere.