Far from being ostracised, Matzneff has benefited for decades from a platform in some of France’s top literary venues. First in 1975 and again in 1990, he was interviewed on public television by Bernard Pivot, who for three decades hosted France’s most-watched literary talk shows. Pivot also served from 2014 until earlier this month as director of the prestigious Académie Goncourt.
In the 1990 interview, Pivot took a playful tone, calling Matzneff a “true professor of sexual education” and asking him about his taste for high schoolers and “kittens”.
Matzneff did however face criticism from another guest on the television segment, Canadian novelist Denise Bombardier, who compared the author to “old men” who entice children with candy. In the clip, which has accrued more than 900,000 views in less than a week, Bombardier said Matzneff would be “held to account by the justice system” if it weren’t for his “literary aura”.
“Literature cannot serve as an alibi,” she said.