Previously, in Class Act Episode 4, the Wonder factory workers, led by their union representative, Mrs. Leduc, went on strike to fight layoffs and unfulfilled promises from their boss, Tapie. Frustrated, they demanded job security and fair wages. Tapie initially avoided them but later had a crucial conversation with Leduc. He explained the need for a redundancy plan to make the business profitable but promised to personally deposit one million francs into each worker’s account, showing his commitment to their well-being. The strike ended, and Tapie decided to kickstart his TV show with an inspiring speech that garnered support from the audience and even President Mitterrand, who felt enamored by his speech.
How Did Tapie Become The Minister Of Urban Affairs?
In Class Act Episode 5, we witness a pivotal moment in Tapie’s life as he is summoned to the Elysée by President François Mitterrand. During their meeting, the President lauded Tapie for his magnetic personality, boundless passion and energy, and his ability to connect with people, winning their hearts. Tapie held leftist beliefs and was dedicated to improving the prospects of the younger generation, recognizing them as the future of France. As a result, President Mitterrand appointed him as the Minister of Urban Affairs in 1992. This newfound political role caused Tapie to shift his focus away from his business endeavors. Simultaneously, he served as president of the Olympique de Marseille and worked to rescue Adidas. However, Nicole discovered that Tapie had accumulated a substantial debt of 150 million francs in his dealings with Adidas, which raised a significant concern for Dominique. She tried to talk to her husband, but his burgeoning political commitments kept him occupied all the time. Despite facing opposition from the Chief of Staff in the Urban Affairs ministry, who viewed Tapie as nothing more than a businessman, Tapie was determined to bring about significant changes in his new role. His journey into politics was gaining momentum, making him someone the president could rely on.
Tapie faced significant criticism from the very group he aimed to serve, the youth. They expressed skepticism due to his business background and doubted his ability to bring about change. However, Tapie took a unique approach. He directly engaged with the younger generation, even going so far as to hire an activist named Amina, a woman of color, onto his staff. This move allowed him to gain a closer understanding of the challenges and problems that the youth of France were grappling with. Tapie was genuinely concerned about their future, and he didn’t want to see them trapped in a life of drug dealing, theft, organized crime, or engaging in violent behaviors. His willingness to listen and connect with the youth set him apart, as he was determined to make a positive impact on their lives and provide them with opportunities for a brighter future.
Why Did Nicole Resign?
Tapie recognized the importance of keeping young people engaged in a positive environment after school to steer them away from pursuing illicit activities. His idea was to provide after-school snacks that would keep students occupied at school, foster a sense of community, and prevent them from getting involved in risky behaviors. He understood that family time was crucial for the youth’s well-being, but many mothers who were working jobs were stuck away from home, leaving their children with idle time. In the midst of these challenges, Dominique and Nicole were dealing with the daunting task of finding ways to pay off the debts. Even the owner of Diguet-Deny, Coupant, confronted Tapie about a 13 million franc debt. Tapie initially refused to pay, leading to a clash between him and Coupant. It led Coupant to threaten Tapie with a 60 million-franc lawsuit. Tensions between Coupant and Tapie were gradually hastening the way to Tapie’s downfall. Finally, Nicole and Tapie had a crucial conversation where they disclosed the mounting debts and the challenges they faced in their business. They proposed a solution that Tapie didn’t necessarily like, but it could have been the only way to save his business as well as his reputation.
Amidst the growing financial woes and mounting debts, Nicole and Dominique engaged in a serious discussion about potential solutions. They presented the idea of relocating and leaving the ministry, which Tapie firmly rejected out of hand. So Nicole went on to propose another solution that involved selling Adidas to get rid of the burden of debt. But Tapie was determined to keep juggling both his businesses and political role, and he didn’t want to abandon any of his ventures. Nicole, increasingly frustrated and concerned about her own future, made the difficult decision to resign from her job, and surprisingly, Tapie didn’t make any effort to stop her. Dominique attempted to persuade her, but Nicole had made up her mind.
How Did Tapie’s Political Career End?
Tapie knew he was in trouble because of the threats of lawsuits from Coupant. He tried to comfort Dominique and the people close to him, thinking that his friendship with President Mitterrand would protect him. At the same time, he was very enthusiastic about starting the after-school snack program for kids, as he cared deeply about their well-being. But there were problems at his ministry, and the chief of staff quit because of the ensuing flight between him and Tapie. However, undeterred, Tapie also got into a heated argument on TV with far-right politician Jean-Marie Le Pen. In this interview, Tapie didn’t shy away from speaking his mind.
Even though many people criticized him for his outspoken attitude, Tapie didn’t change his mind and stayed determined. Even President Mitterrand praised him for his bravery in saying things as they were. But the situation got even more intense when Coupant decided to sue Tapie for the 13 million francs he owed. This made a lot of people pay attention to Tapie’s case, including journalists who came to interview him. However, they appeared at a really bad time—right when President Mitterrand was calling Tapie. Sadly, Tapie made a big mistake by having a discussion with Mr. President about the lawsuit with the journalists around. The president told Tapie that they would handle it quietly. Tapie even went so far as to put the call on loudspeaker to show off how the President had his back. But this idea backfired when the conversation got out to the public, and the following day, it was published in a newspaper article, drawing everyone’s attention to it.
President Mitterrand was furious because of Tapie’s mistake. As a result, he took a major step and ended Tapie’s political career by firing him from his designation. Tapie, realizing the gravity of his actions, attempted to apologize, but this only fueled the President’s anger. It was at that moment that Tapie understood that politics wasn’t the right path for him. He made the decision to return to his business ventures with a strong determination to confront and resolve the significant debts that were causing him immense trouble.