Ex-IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is out on bail on sexual assault charges, is currently holed up in an apartment at 71 Broadway, hidden from the media and overseen by round-the-clock armed guards—we guess he can take down "his" Craigslist posting now. And he's already making friends! New neighbor Andrew Auernheimer, the hacker who released iPad emails to Gawker, gave Strauss-Kahn high praise to the Post: "He's an OK guy...I think he is misjudged by the public. I don't want to say they trapped him, but it seems like there's more to this story. I'd like to talk to him more about it, but I'm sure he won't tell me."
According to Reuters, Strauss-Kahn's legal team has informally sought public relations advice from consulting firm, TD International, run by former CIA officers and U.S. diplomats. Strauss-Kahn was previously considered the strongest contender to be the next president of France, before he was arrested last weekend in NYC for allegedly sexually assaulting a maid in his fancy hotel suite.
But what about those maids, housekeepers and hotel staff who routinely have to endure sexual harassment from guests? The Times took a look at the seedy underbelly of the hotel industry, and spoke to several women who have been forced into uncomfortable positions in this line of work:
Housekeepers, nearly all of whom are women, talk of guests who offer them $100 or $200 for sex, apparently thinking that the maids, often low-paid immigrants, are desperate to earn more money. Some women complain of episodes in which they were bending over to, say, clean a bathtub, and a guest sneaked up and stuck his hand up their skirt.
Andrea Peyser is far more concerned about those damn, dirty foreign nationals. In her column this week, she blasted them, hurling a litany of insults such as: "decadent," "depraved," "malodorous, greedy, drunk and demented," "scofflaws and alleged rapists. Petty criminals and those who commit crimes of passion, opportunity or sheer boredom. They have one thing in common. They are foreign nationals." She also unloads this classic two-liner, which is going up on our refrigerator: "What is it about this city that attracts egotistical scum unfit to lick one's shoe? People who have no respect for decent American values?"
But according to French social commentator Sophie de Menthion, Strauss-Kahn is a victim of new media: "The whole nation—all political parties and all social classes - has just stood there aghast. Thanks to the new technologies, we are watching, in real-time, an event unprecedented in the history of humanity—a man's condemnation to death by media. It creates feelings and reactions which go far beyond what is, essentially, after all just another minor alleged crime." After all, charges of first-degree criminal sexual act, attempted rape, sexual abuse, unlawful imprisonment, and forcible touching really are, altogether, just a "minor alleged crime."