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French author Houellebecq threatens to sue Le Monde

Novelist Michel Houellebecq
Novelist Michel Houellebecq Wikipédia

French novelist Michel Houellebecq lashed out at Le Monde newspaper on TV on television this weekend, threatening to take legal advice about its use of "private correspondence". The paper hit back with a charge that the internationally renowned author seeks control over everything published about him.

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Accusing Le Monde reporter Ariane Chemin, who published a six-part series on him last week, of inaccuracies and bias, Houellebecq said he would see his lawyer "tomorrow" on the popular Saturday evening TV programme On n'es pas couché.

Although he declared Chemin is "no good", he claimed that the only question that really troubled him was the publication of an email he sent refusing to cooperate with her reports.

'I don't like it at all when people publish my private correspondence," he told the panel on the France 2 show. "No photos, no private correspondence, the rest I couldn't care less about!"

In the email Houellebecq told Chemin that he would not speak to her and would ask his friends not to do so, either, an injunction Le Monde claims hampered her work.

"Clearly Michel Houellebecq can't bear to read the least piece of investigative journalism about him that he has not authorised, if not initiated," the paper said in a reply published Sunday.

Claiming its articles were accurate and unbiased, it accused him of "personal vilification" of its reporter.

"All this would be unimportant if, behind this campaign of vilification, one couldn't hear a refrain that is more and more insistent among intellectuals and pundits who earn their living combating the 'politically correct'," it comments.

"Although they have an open invitation to appear on all France's media, they try and maintain the myth that they are martyrs in spreading the idea that a closed shop of journalists is trying to do them down."

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