While withdrawing his candidacy on Friday, Benjamin Griveaux said he and his family have endured "defamatory statements, lies, rumors, anonymous attacks, the disclosure of private conversations that were stolen and death threats" for over a year.
"Yesterday a new stage has been reached: a website, and social networks relayed vile attacks on my private life," he said in a televised statement. "My family does not deserve this." Griveaux did not deny that he had sent the explicit videos.
Russian dissident artist Pyotr Pavlensky admitted to publishing the text messages and 30 second explicit video alleged to have been sent by Griveaux to the unidentified woman.
The content was published on a website, shared on Pavlensky's Facebook page, which invites users to send "correspondence, photographs or videos" of a sexual or pornographic nature sent by "civil servants and political representatives" who impose "puritanism on society."
Pavlensky is famous for his acts of protest, including sewing his lips together over the jailing of the Russian feminist protest punk band Pussy Riot -- for their part in a performance critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin -- and nailing his scrotum to Moscow's Red Square.
He justified the move as a way to reveal the hypocrisy of a candidate who espouses "family values," Pavlensky told the French daily Liberation.
Павленский утопил политическую карьеру кандидата в мэры Парижа от партии Макрона, опубликовав его непристойную переписку с любовницей. Вот оно, русское вмешательство в выборы!