PARIS (Reuters) - Two-thirds of French people do not want Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand to resign for having written about paying young male prostitutes for sex in Thailand, an opinion poll showed Monday.
Mitterrand has rejected calls for his resignation, sparked by revelations in his 2005 autobiography, “The Bad Life,” and said the male prostitutes were consenting adults.
The French government has also come out in support of Mitterrand, who has threatened legal action to protect his reputation.
The controversy surfaced after Mitterrand defended film-maker Roman Polanski, who faces extradition from Switzerland to the United States for having had sex with a 13-year-old girl in 1977.
Both the far-right National Front party and main Socialist opposition party said he should step down.
However, 67 percent of French people do not want Mitterrand to resign, against 20 percent who think he should, according to the survey of 1,005 people carried out by pollster BVA on October 9-10.
Mitterrand has called his experiences in Thailand, described in the book that mixes autobiography and more dreamlike reflection, as “a mistake, certainly, a crime, no.”
“I got into the habit of paying for boys,” Mitterrand wrote.
“All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market excited me enormously ... the abundance of very attractive and immediately available young boys put me in a state of desire.”
Mitterrand, the nephew of former Socialist President Francois Mitterrand, shot to the top of popularity polls after he was drafted into Sarkozy’s center-right cabinet in June.