Bruni-Sarkozy backs anti-sexism campaign

By the Associated Press | May 26, 2011 | 11:59 AM EDT

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, waits for arrivals at the Villa Strassburger during the G8 summit in Deauville, France, Thursday, May 26, 2011. Spouses of G8 leaders meet on the sidelines of the formal summit to discuss such issues as the fight against illiteracy. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, Pool)

PARIS (AP) — France's first lady on Thursday backed an appeal by feminists condemning sexist comments that followed the arrest of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy supported the campaign "Sexism: they (men) lose it and women pay" on her official website.

More than 25,000 people have signed a petition organized by feminist groups condemning "misogynist comments by public figures" after Strauss-Kahn's arrest on charges of attempting to rape a hotel chambermaid.

Several commentators appeared to downplay the seriousness of the allegations or depicted Strauss-Kahn as the real victim — of rough American justice. One politician said the case was being overblown — after all, "nobody died." A prominent writer dismissed the alleged crime with a vulgar expression roughly meaning "getting into the maid's skirts."

Several hundred women and men held a protest against the reaction in Paris on Sunday — some with signs proclaiming: "We are all chambermaids."

Bruni-Sarkozy, 43, is married to French President Nicolas Sarkozy — Strauss-Kahn's political rival — and is also a musician, actor and AIDS activist.

On Thursday, she greeted leaders' spouses at the Group of Eight summit in the Normandy resort of Deauville — showing off a distinct baby bump.

The couple, who married in 2008, has not officially announced the pregnancy, but after weeks of speculation the president's father, Pal Sarkozy, confirmed it last week to a German newspaper.

The president has three sons from his first two marriages, and Bruni-Sarkozy has a 9-year-old son from a previous relationship.

During the two-day G-8 summit, leaders' spouses will attend events for literacy and anti-AIDS groups, causes supported by Bruni-Sarkozy.