President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that the Georgian society should not yield to “blackmail” and “terror” of “dark forces” behind release of secretly recorded sex tapes and added that perpetrators will be “punished in an exemplary manner.”
Several politicians, including from the government and one of the opposition parties, as well as one journalist were threatened on March 14 with releasing secretly recorded videos of their private lives. The threat was made in a form of a newly released sex tape of unidentified individuals, posted anonymously on YouTube with the text on the video threatening three politicians, one of them opposition figure, and a TV journalist to quit their professional activities before March 31. The new video and the threat came few days after a separate sex tape, purportedly showing one of the opposition politicians, was anonymously posted on YouTube on March 11.
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Speaking at a meeting with representatives of some civil society organizations, the President said: “We gathered today because of alarming political and public climate that we have now in Georgia over the release of videos of private lives.”
He was meeting representatives of a campaign group This Affects You, which was launched in 2014 against illegal surveillance and which the civil society activists decided to reactivate after recently released secretly recorded videos.
“First of all, I want to address those people, who have been threatened and blackmailed by this dark force: regardless of your political views – I stand by you and I will always protect you; I will always be in solidarity with those people, whom someone tries to oppress,” President Margvelashvili said.
“Sex and sex life is not a shame. I have sex, I’ve had a very rich sex life and will have it in future too, and be sure that I will always protect you [targets of recent blackmail] and I will always try to make this topic free from senseless black stigma,” the President said.
“Now, I address those dark forces, who intend to blackmail our population and our society: we will find each of you and you will not be able to frighten and terrorize people,” Margvelashvili said.
“I want to address the Georgian public: we have gained independence and we should become free and it means that we should not be afraid, and in order not to be afraid, we should in no way be part of this blackmail. Any person, who takes a look at these disgusting videos – disgusting not because sex life is disgusting, but because filming it [secretly] is sickening, should know that from the moral point of view they too become participants of secret surveillance,” he said.
He said that he has been in contact Parliamentary Speaker Davit Usupashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and law enforcement agencies and added: “I want to assure you that the entire state system is mobilized with all the available resources and works in a coordinated manner.”
“This will definitely yield results but at the same time I want to emphasize that although this specific crime may be solved very soon, the society should prevail over someone’s thinking that by doing this [releasing secretly filmed sex tapes] they can blackmail our society and influence on political life… The society should respond it and not only through solving a specific crime, but through openly condemning it,” he said.
“Today I am meeting with the representatives of the society to think together not only how to win the struggle against this crime, but also the struggle against criminal mentality in the heads of some people, who think that they will exert influence on the Georgian society. I give you an absolute guarantee that this struggle will be won and those scums who try to blackmail our free society will be defeated and exemplarily punished,” President Margvelashvili said.