The Héraultaise Margot Cauquil-Gleizes, a 53-year-old teacher, is one of the plaintiffs who are hoping for a trial against the former star presenter.
At the start of the Poivre d’Arvor affair, the Héraultaise Margot Cauquil-Gleizes, 53, did not want to emerge from anonymity. She agreed to testify, in March 2021, in support of the complaint filed by the writer Florence Porcel against the former star presenter of TF1. She described to the police a sexual assault and especially a rape, 36 years later, which she had not yet identified in her mind.
The native Biterroise, now a plastic arts teacher in Paris, has just decided, in mid-September, to file a complaint for these two cases. Even if they are, a priori, prescribed (read elsewhere). She chose to express herself in Midi Libre to carry loud and clear the fight led by the group of plaintiffs with this objective: to obtain a trial. PPDA, he denies en bloc, and has filed complaints for slanderous denunciation, in particular against Ms. Cauquil-Gleizes.
Why is she speaking today?
“I want us to be heard and believed. The fact of being all together gives us credibility. I didn’t know any of them a year ago, I couldn’t have done it, it’s a collective strength”. Today she takes the risk of revealing herself publicly: “Removing anonymity is complicated, I am a teacher, but the parents, the students and the hierarchy are benevolent, my family and my relatives too, like my two sons”.
The meeting with Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, autumn 1984
“He phones my parents around 9 p.m.” says the one who grew up in Bassan, near Béziers, until she came of age. There, in 1984, aged 16, author of a collection of existential reflections, she had written to the journalist to ask him for advice. “He answered me quickly… My mother picked up and, flattered, said to me: “Mr. Patrick Poivre d’Arvor wants to talk to you.” At the time, we watched 8 p.m. every evening, religiously, I was not allowed to talk at the table.
He tells me that he would be delighted if I could submit my texts to him and also asks me what underwear I wear… I’m uncomfortable, I tell him that I can’t answer, it’s perverse , but I’m impressed with the character.”
The rape denounced in a hotel in Sète, spring 1985
The weeks pass, the correspondence and telephone relations continue. She receives two PDDA cards written in the purple ink he likes. “He told me that I was gifted, that he was going to publish me… It’s the hypnotizing snake”. Until May 1985 when the star presenter joined Sète for a literary event. Appointment is made at the Grand Hotel. She thinks of presenting her texts, the receptionist tells her that Poivre d’Arvor is waiting for her in her room.
Everything goes very quickly: “He opens the door for me, I see a small room, I wonder where we are going to sit, he says hello to me, miss, he takes me immediately, he tilts me on the bed , he undresses me, he undresses, he penetrates me and it lasts five minutes. I am in a state of amazement, I did not know this word then. I had a wedding ring on my thumb, he taps his wedding ring against mine and he says to me: “above all, don’t get married too young”. He goes off to take a shower saying to me: “now I have appointments”. I get dressed mechanically and I leave”. PPDA, in its hearings, has always disputed the lack of consent.
Anne becomes Margot
His existence changes. She doesn’t tell anyone about it and decides to call herself Margot and no longer Anne. “I then had difficulty building myself” she analyzes after a few seconds of reflection. “There is denial, I don’t tell anyone about it, not even the shrink who follows me, I want to forget, hide this dirt. The depression comes a few months later. I now understand that it was linked to this episode I changed my first name, as if I wanted to change my skin, put on a better dress, my soul is hurt. I tell myself that Margot is my warrior name, with “OT” at the end, like removing something creepy”.
The book where she is compared to a lobster
The young woman remains in episodic contact with the journalist who, in 1988, publishes his book “The women of my life”. “He had asked me for permission to publish one of my letters, and I accepted… I am in denial, we continue to have exchanges, we meet each other, we never talk about this meeting in Sète ” she explains. But in this book, the passage dedicated to her resonates sinisterly today: Margot is compared to “a lobster”, to grasp “thumb and index finger behind the pliers” so that she no longer fidgets and “purrs” .
The publication offends no one. Until this summer of 2022 when the Héraultaise is alerted by her comrades in misfortune from the collective. “I became aware of it about two months ago… When I reread the passage, it’s scary, it’s as if he describes the rape in a very colorful way, I thought to myself this is crazy , he even dares to say it…. And to say that with everything we describe, there was no psychiatric expertise for him…”
The request for a “little treat” after 8 p.m.
There is a second meeting between Patrick Poivre d’Arvor and Margot Cauquil-Gleizes who has just finished the School of Fine Arts in Montpellier, in 1992. She is looking for an internship in the sets, contacts him. “I was still in denial, I told myself that it would be good if he helped me,” she told us. The journalist invites her to the 8 p.m. set and then goes to dinner.
“There, it’s Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hide, charming when he launches the subjects then odious with his teams, he changes his face. I waited 20 minutes for him to debrief his diary and he arrives. He puts down his notes, I get up, he says to me: “good evening, I’m happy to see you again”, he puts his buttocks on the desk and he says to me, like a man-child, with a little pout: “Oh, listen, the newspaper has been really very stressful for me, I’m really tense, wouldn’t you give me a little treat? While unzipping his pants.
There, the event of Sète comes back to me in memory, I say to myself it is not possible, it is a great patient. I say no, he insists: “Come on, just a very small treat”, I raise my voice but no one comes, he changes his face and says “in that case, good evening”. I feel humiliated, stupid to have come”. The journalist declared during the hearing that he did not remember this meeting.
Why did she keep dating him?
Why did so many complainants continue to date the star? “He said I was not under the influence, he was in a dominant position anyway because he was extremely well known,” she replies. “And then you still have to be aware that you have been raped. Thanks to the police, to the major who received me extremely well, in March 2021, I finally understood when he said to me: “if , Madam, you have been raped” because there is the notion of surprise.
Me as I did not resist, I feel guilty, I am ashamed and I am silent. There is denial, we make up this horrible event to survive. It’s also a question of education, it could no longer happen today to very informed young girls, I should have been told: “you never go up to a stranger’s room, even if it’s PPDA “.
How to live the status of “prescribed”
The click occurs when she sees PPDA on TV respond to the accusations of Florence Porcel. She decides to testify in this case which has been dismissed. “I am prescribed, our fight is to move the lines, the law, if we succeeded, it would be our victory”. Pending a possible judicial rebound, Margot Cauquil-Gleizes, is relieved. “I’m finally proud. Of all of us, I say it with a big smile. I think it will open the eyelids of those who still want to close their eyes”.
And Hélène’s book (in which her story is told, editor’s note), will be a milestone, it’s a punchy book
Hélène Devynck publishes this Friday, September 23 “Impunit” (Threshold), with the story of 23 complainants including her own.