PAPER ROSES: Pierre Bergé is making waves again. The former business partner of Yves Saint Laurent has lashed out against the French daily Le Monde, which he co-owns with Xavier Niel and Matthieu Pigasse, for publishing an opinion piece about former Socialist President François Mitterrand.
In an e-mail to Le Monde director Erik Izraelewicz dated May 11 and made public by Web site Electron Libre this week, Bergé called the piece by historian François Cusset “revolting” and said he was having second thoughts about having rescued the paper. “Paying without having any power is a curious deal that I should have thought through,” he said. Gilles Van Kote, head of Le Monde’s journalists’ association, said the matter had since been settled. “I have spoken to him on the telephone since and he said he has no intention of withdrawing from the capital of Le Monde,” Van Kote told WWD. “I see it more as a fit of temper.”
In an official statement, Van Kote recalled that shareholders had no right to influence the content of the paper. He said Bergé sent the journalists a message Wednesday saying he was sorry the private e-mail had leaked, and confirming that his criticism did not call into question his long-term financial commitment to the paper and the group’s other publications.