Cutting remarks are being made about the high cost of the French president’s personal hairdresser.François Hollande may be the most unpopular president in the history of modern France, but he is certainly among the most impeccably groomed.In a season that has seen his disapproval ratings approach 90 Percent of French voters, even more gleeful ridicule was heaped on François Hollande this week, whenLe Canard, the satirical newspaper, exposed that his personal hair stylist has been paid 9,985 euros ( about $11,000) per month since Hollande was elected in 2012.
That is about as much as a French government minister makes per month, and only a third less than Hollande’s own monthly paycheck.
In trying to brush off the unfolding scandal, the government spokesman Stephane le Foll said, “Everyone has their hair done, don’t they? This hairdresser had to abandon his salon and he’s on tap 24 hours a day.”
For a president who had promised, in the midst of his election campaign, to be a “normal” president — as opposed to the flashier public image of his opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy—9,985 euros would seem quite the bling-bling expense. Especially for a Socialist President committed to the ideals of social justice.
As Sébastien Huygue, a member of parliament, “For a normal president, [Hollande] doesn’t have a normal hairdresser.”
On Wednesday, the French government responded to the report and confirmed the salary figure, careful to note that Hollande’s administration also slashed the budget of the Élysee Palace by approximately 15 to 20 percent when he took office four years ago.
The stylist was identified only as Olivier B., although a book that appeared in April,L Elysee Off, listed the stylist Olivier Benhamou.
The hairdresser apparently has such a tough work schedule that he had “missed the births of his children.”
The terms of his contract means that he is also sworn to “the most absolute secrecy on the work he will do or the information he may fall upon,” according to Le Canard Enchaîné.
The revelation — instantly dubbed #CoiffeurGate — led to an avalanche of outrage in French media, including a choice selection of memes imagining the presidential visage topped with any number of elaborate do-ups from past to present..