Thomas Sotto and the romantic relationship that forced him to give up political broadcasts

Mayada Boulos, Adviser to the Prime Minister Jean Castex. (Paris, 15 July 2020.) Blonde Eliot / ABACA

The journalist announced on Sunday, November 7, that he was withdrawing from the “Elysée 2022”, the political program for France 2. A decision was made to ward off any suspicion of collusion, due to his relationship with the Prime Minister’s communications adviser, Jean Castex.

For him, it is a “simple and clear” decision: Thomas Sotto will no longer present “Elysée 2022”, the monthly political program for France 2, in the company of Léa Salamé. A withdrawal that happens after that Figaro Sunday, November 7, revealed his relationship with Mayada Boulos, communications adviser to Prime Minister Jean Castex.

In an interview given to Parisian The next day, the journalist clarified that he remained in control of “Télématin”, Laurent Delahouse’s joker remained at. 20.00 and Caroline Roux at “4 truths”, and kept her program “Hors Pistes” at France Inter. But that there would be no political interviews.

Léa Salamé and Thomas Sott on the set of “You have the floor”, the political program they have been presenting on France 2 since 2019, replaced in September 2021 by “Elysée 2022”. (Paris, December 5, 2019.) Le Tellec Stephane / ABACA

“General suspicion”

Thomas Sotto also called his decision “difficult and in a way quite unfair”, referring to “a personal event which[il] do not want to evolve because it relates [sa] privacy. “According to Sonia Devillers in her” Edito M “at France Inter on November 8, her relationship with Mayada Boulos would be” just beginning “. But the journalist, in The Parisiandeclares not to want to “borrow the flank to the slightest obscurity”.

A communicator who has worked both in the private sector (she was deputy director of the Havas Paris agency) and for a socialist deputy (Marisol Touraine, Minister of Social Affairs and Health under François Hollande), Mayada Boulos is neither elected nor a member of the government. “But I have to take into account our time, which has become very violent and which tends to hysteria everything; suspicion is generalized,” Thomas Sotto added.

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Politics and ideas

Born in 1981 in Paris, Mayada (“the pipe that bends but does not break”, in Egyptian), Boulos grew up between London and Egypt, the land of her father, journalist, author and communist activist. Between him and his mother, as the counselor describes, in a portrait dedicated to him Le Figaro in March as “Marthe Villalonga-Mouchy, in the film An elephant cheats a lot“, she develops into an” absolute freedom of speech “, which contrasts with the more rigid political environment in Cairo. It was after her father’s death that she completed her studies at the Sorbonne, and began a career in communication. The High Authority for Combating Discrimination and for Gender Equality in 2005, then for the Cité des sciences et de lacouverte.

After four years with Marisol Touraine, from 2012 to 2016, where she gained “the conviction that there was a necessary closeness between the political world and the ideas”, this was a fan of the political and parody series. The west wing takes a break: at the time, it was her husband, the father of her two children, turn to get involved in Emmanuel Macron’s campaign and with the Council of Ministers. A meeting with the head of Havas Paris, Stéphane Fouks, leads to a job offer: “At the end of the discussion, I changed my plans and I recruited her, entrusting the latter to Figaro. She is smart, shrewd, party-political and can have an eye on things. “

It was during the summer of 2020 that she was contacted to work with Jean Castex, who immediately told her that she had in front of her “a minister who does not like communication”. Mayada Boulos undertakes this “command mission”, as she describes it, by having him pose with his wife on the front page of Paris Match or that he is among the guests in the show “C à vous”.

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Politicians and journalists

If it is not yet officially known who is in the majority in the presidential election, a candidacy of Emmanuel Macron would necessarily mean that his prime minister plays a role. Therefore, Thomas Sotto withdrew, wanting to free himself from any suspicion of coordination. He is not the first journalist to have taken this step: Before him, Béatrice Schönberg (accompanying Jean-Louis Borloo), Audrey Pulvar (who was with Arnaud Montebourg at the time) or Léa Salamé (in a relationship with Raphaël Glucksman) ) temporarily distanced themselves from their respective media to allow their spouses to act politically. Nor is he the first man to do so: In 2018, sports journalist Frank Ballanger withdrew from France Inter when his partner, Roxana Maracineanu, was appointed sports minister.

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