Le Figaro, 2023-03-24

Translation to English

“Nothing happened as planned”: Michel Houellebecq explains his presence in an erotic film

In an article in Le Point, the famous writer details the circumstances in which he believes he was tricked by a Dutch producer, who would have filmed sexual scenes without his consent.

“He made us sign a contract, of which I only read one article because it was the only condition, intended to protect my anonymity.” In an op-ed in Le Point, Michel Houellebecq explained himself on the case of the Dutch pornographic film. On January 24, the Dutch collective KIRAC (Keeping It Real Art Critics), led by Stefan Ruitenbeek, had published a trailer in which the famous French writer was seen in bed, in the arms of a young woman. The director had announced the release of the complete film on March 11, before Michel Houellebecq took legal action, blocking the publication of the film until the verdict, expected this Tuesday, March 28.

The author of Sérotonine explains that following a dinner with Stefan Ruitenbeek, he and his wife agreed to shoot “a sexual scene in trio” with him, his wife and Jini van Rooijen, a friend of Ruitenbeek, “under the condition that [his] anonymity be preserved (…)”. According to Houellebecq, this film was to be added to the “films on Jini’s OnlyFans account [which] are only accessible to her paying subscribers” while he and his wife were to “wear masks.” “The sex scene took place,” continues Michel Houellebecq, who explains that he finally “did not provide [his] passport, a necessary condition imposed by OnlyFans so that the film could be broadcast.”

In emails exchanged afterwards, Stefan Ruitenbeek “sent me (…) photos of different women who wanted, according to him, to have sexual relations with me”, continues Michel Houellebecq. “My wife wrote the draft of a scenario, inspired both by one of my books, The Possibility of an Island, and personal memories.” Stefan Ruitenbeek was to be “the director”, while the writer was “ready to take on an acting role”, including participating “in pornographic scenes if the script included them”, on condition, “that, in no sexual shot, my face and that of my wife be filmed. [Stefan Ruitenbeek] accepted this condition.”

“Nothing happened as planned”.
The author goes on to explain that he and his wife travelled to Amsterdam in December to “meet the women Mr Ruitenbeek wanted to have sex with”, but that these “relations could have been a casting session (…) but in no way material for broadcasting. However, when we arrived on the spot, “nothing happened as planned,” he continued, “first of all, we were filmed as soon as we got off the train without us having given our permission at any time (…). In the evening, Mr Ruitenbeek came to our hotel room, always accompanied by his cameraman,” the writer says. It was there that he made us sign a contract, of which I only read one article because it was the only condition, intended to protect my anonymity, that I had asked Mr Ruitenbeek to respect, because of the probably pornographic nature of the film. For the rest, I assumed that it was a normal contract, as I have signed many in my life.”

“The next morning, Mr. Ruitenbeek came back accompanied by Isa, one of the women he had sent me pictures of,” Houellebecq continues, “(…) I exchanged kisses with Isa (these are the scenes that appear in the trailer), then everything went downhill.” After several disagreements, “I ended up hiding under a sheet to avoid being filmed,” explains the French writer, who claims to have had “no further contact, neither physical nor even verbal” with the young woman afterwards. “When Mr Ruitenbeek says in his interview with Vice magazine that “in all, four women have slept with Houellebecq”, it is a pure and simple lie,” says the author of La carte et le territoire. On 23 December, “after a violent discussion during which my wife and I were insulted by Mr Ruitenbeek”, the writer explains, “I demanded that he leave my room, him and his cameraman. I have not seen him since.”

After “noticing with disgust” the “trailer made by Mr. Ruitenbeek, (…) a preamble to a longer film, which he described as ‘pornographic’, (…) I immediately took legal action to try to have this broadcasting banned, to which I had in no way given my consent,” concludes Michel Houellebecq. The famous writer, once considered for the Nobel Prize, had recently caused another controversy following his comments on Muslims, made in an exchange with Michel Onfray for the magazine Front Populaire.