‘Playboy’ French minister fired

A close Macron ally lost her seat in a government reshuffle

The secretary of state for the social and solidarity economy is leaving the French government after more than six years in office, amid controversy over her alleged mismanagement of a public fund created to counter “extremism.”

Marlene Schiappa, who had made headlines after posing for the cover of Playboy magazine earlier this year, learned of her dismissal during a phone call with President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday afternoon.

“We spoke for a long time, about thirty minutes,” she told Le Monde. “He [Macron] thanked me for my unfailing commitment over the last seven years.”

The former equality minister came to fame following her Playboy stint last April, when she posed on the cover of the magazine’s French edition. Although the issue proved popular with the French public, her non-nude appearance spurred criticism from her colleagues and opponents alike. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne reprimanded Schiappa’s decision to give an interview to the risque magazine, calling it “not at all appropriate.”

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More recently, Schiappa has been embroiled in a scandal over the Marianne Fund, which she helped to establish after the 2020 beheading of Paris school teacher Samuel Paty. A media investigation by Marianne magazine and France 2 television accused Schiappa of redirecting over €2 million in public money to people with whom she had personal relationships. Opposition politicians also urged her to resign after the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office opened a probe into several alleged offenses, including “misappropriation of public funds through negligence.”

Schiappa has denied all wrongdoing, dismissing the claims as “slander” while threatening to “pursue defamation cases against all those making false accusations.”

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