France's Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot has firmly rejected claims that he sexually harassed two women earlier in his career.
Pre-empting the expected publication of a report detailing the allegations in the weekly magazine Ebdo, Hulot appeared on national broadcaster BFMTV. He denied what he called "shameful rumors."
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Asked if he could look at himself in the mirror without flinching, Hulot said he was not "scared of the truth" but that he was scared of "rumors, which are like poison, slowly killing you."
In the interview, he talked about accusations that allegedly came from "the granddaughter of a famous politician" dating back to 1997. The woman had filed a complaint in 2008, but the case was dismissed, Hulot explained.
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He also said rumors that a former colleague had accused him of misconduct were false. "The worst thing is that she has already been questioned by some of your colleagues and she gave the same answer."
PM lends support
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe brushed aside the allegations, saying that he "had no reason to doubt his [Hulot's] words."
Hulot, a former environmental activist who runs his own ecological foundation, is the second minister in French President Emmanuel Macron's government to be facing sexual harassment allegations.
At the end of January, French prosecutors reopened an investigation into allegations of rape filed by an ex-call girl against Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin.
ng/rc (AFP, AP)