Thursday, August 28, 2003

Big Babies

Doesn't the White House have anything better to do?

PARIS (AFP) - It seems US President George W. Bush (news - web sites) is not the only person in the White House who draws the line at the French sense of humour. His chef, Walter Scheib, also found the Gauls galling after being the target of a gag for French TV.

According to Le Parisien daily, Scheib was approached by a woman pretending to be French President Jacques Chirac's wife Bernadette with a request: Would he consider switching presidential pads to make hamburgers and pizzas for Jacques?

The answer, despite the brouhaha over "Freedom Fries", French wine boycotts and the small issue of working for a man Scheib's current boss has little time for, was "yes", the newspaper said.

But when he found out it was all a set-up for a popular Candid Camera-style programme called "On a Tout Essaye" (We've Tried Everything), Scheib grew furious.

He reportedly contacted the White House, which in turn called Chirac's office to demand that the embarrassing scene be cut from the TV show.

The newspaper said it appeared that the public network France 2 decided to bow to the request and avoid a diplomatic incident, but that the US administration had such a sour taste in its mouth it was asking for a formal apology from French officials.