French Culture Minister Frédéric Mitterrand

France’s Culture Minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, has refused to resign despite admitting in his 2005 autobiography, The Bad Life, that he paid for sex with male prostitutes in Thailand.

Much of the criticism levelled against him is centred on his writing that he had sex with “boys” in the book, suggesting that he engaged in paedophilic activities.

“I got into the habit of paying for boys. All these rituals of the market for youths, the slave market excited me enormously. The profusion of young, very attractive and immediately available boys put me in a state of desire that I no longer needed to restrain or hide,” the politician wrote.

Mitterrand has insisted that the French word for boy, “garcon”, which he used, was not meant to suggest that his partners were underage.

In an interview on television, Mitterrand condemned sexual tourism and paedophilia. He has also said that his actions were “without a doubt, an error, but a crime, no”.

The controversial admissions in the autobiography have only recently come to light thanks to Mitterrand’s public support of film director Roman Polanski who was recently arrested for raping a 13 year old girl over thirty years ago.

Critics and opposition parties have called for Mitterrand – who has worked as an actor, a screenwriter, a television presenter, a writer, producer and director – to step down but he claims to have the support of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

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