Erik Orsenna "Vincent Bolloré, an entrepreneur who has become an ogre"

Erik Orsenna “Vincent Bolloré, an entrepreneur who has become an ogre”

Why target Vincent Bolloré in your latest book?

I once admired the man who saved his family business. But the one I took for an entrepreneur has become an ogre. Instead of creating, he sneaks into businesses to take them over, like the cuckoo that seizes the nests of others.

Does he represent a danger?

None as long as it remains in the general economic domain. It becomes so when it takes positions in the press and culture. Without the decision of the Brussels Commission, Bolloré would have controlled 85% of school publishing, half of book publishing, 60% of book distribution, a huge share of the written press, influential television channels …

Why accuse him of extreme ideas, since he never talks about them?

Judge his actions. That he opens his C8 channel to a populist like Cyril Hanouna, why not? But continuing to invite Éric Zemmour, who has become a candidate for the 2022 presidential election and whose verbal excesses have succeeded in trivializing those of Marine Le Pen, every evening on CNews, is fraught with meaning. Likewise, offering Le JDD to an editor-in-chief dismissed from Valeurs Actuelles because it is too extremist, all of this has program value! Bolloré does indeed promote far-right ideas.

What to do?

When journalists show their desire for independence in the titles he buys, they find themselves sidelined. We saw it on Canal + and Paris Match. To preserve the freedom of the press, a law would have to allow them to refuse an editor that the owner would like to impose on them.

Why did you choose the form of a tale, without naming the person concerned, rather than a pamphlet? Is this a legal precaution, so as not to be prosecuted, as were many journalists who investigated Vincent Bolloré?

No, it’s a pure question of literary efficiency. Nothing is stronger than a tale to tell an era, especially in a period of uncertainty like ours. The tales will remain, more than the inevitably dated journalistic investigations.

*History of an ogre, Ed. Gallimard, 172 p. ; €18.50

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