Between the lines by Éric Lapointe

Announced with great fanfare by multiple articles, the show Éric Lapointe facing his demons, a special one-hour interview broadcast on TVA last Sunday, devoted to the singer who had not spoken to the media for four years, since his arrest and conviction for assault on a woman, was difficult to miss. That didn’t stop Lapointe from putting on shows during those years – few local artists can boast of having a fan base as solid as his.

Without being an admirer, I have never had anything against the one nicknamed “Ti-Cuir”, even though I sometimes like to bellow Nothing to regret in karaoke. I found Sophie Durocher very correct in this interview and Éric Lapointe, honest and repentant, although a little laconic and redundant. I admit, however, that I did not very well understand the purpose of this exercise, during prime time, other than that it will serve as a test for the media rehabilitation of Lapointe. Basically, I think that after this interview, the question that will arise is whether we can invite Quebec’s best-known rocker back on TV shows, now that he has publicly made his mea culpa.

He said the right things, even if it smacked a little of the communication lines to be hammered like a politician. Nothing excuses his actions, especially not alcohol, and he accepts the consequences. “It wasn’t alcohol that did it, it was me,” he said, and there was nothing more to say about it.

In my life, I know people I love who struggle with alcoholism, I know people who have died from it. It’s a horrible disease that takes its toll. But there are alcoholics who, even dead drunk, are incapable of violence. Éric Lapointe admitted to putting his hand on his victim’s throat and pushing her against a wall, after a drunken evening for her 50th birthday. “Violence is not what defines me,” he said. Fine, but I won’t be made to believe that there isn’t something toxic in a relationship with an intoxicated man that could lead to that.


Éric Lapoint and Sophie Durocher

“I lost control,” admitted Éric Lapointe, who never really had control over his addiction. For someone to put you in an artificial coma to avoid psychosis means that you have really abused alcohol in the long term. The trap is that you continue to drink so as not to go into withdrawal, it no longer has anything to do with willpower; You need medical help to stop, otherwise you could die. Éric Lapointe’s longest period of abstinence did not exceed nine months, he who says he has been drinking since adolescence and has never written a song on an empty stomach. The fight of his life, he says, and I have no doubt about that.

For the purposes of the interview, Éric Lapointe had only been sober for a month. It seemed so, because it’s not a short month that completely resurfaces a man after years of abuse, and not just alcohol. With drawn features and puffy eyes, he seemed tired and his speech was labored at times. We were treated to a photo of the singer in his hospital bed during his coma, and I can’t imagine an X-ray of his liver.

We heard what we usually hear in this type of TV confessional. Éric Lapointe apologizes many times to his victim, accepts responsibility for his slip-up, says that he has “journeyed” a lot in therapy, advises men to go to counseling, talks about his children, and it was rather a no-brainer. -mistake.

But if we read between the lines, we clearly feel that he did not accept this interview to raise public awareness about addiction, he has not reached where Jean Lapointe went; it was a polite request to return to the spotlight.

Although he continued to do shows, he also lost the lucrative contract The voice as well as advertisements; collaborators and festivals hesitate to associate their names with his, and we no longer see him on TV. Basically, he comes to test the waters to see if his “punishment” has lasted long enough, he is not the first nor the last to do so.


Éric Lapointe, during a show on the occasion of Quebec’s national holiday at Parc Jean-Drapeau, June 23, 2019

Besides fame, his other advantage remains this “bad boy” side, as was once the case for Claude Dubois, who was convicted of drug possession. In the sense that we do not expect these men to be altar boys, we are not surprised when they make the headlines for the wrong reasons, but they must remain within the limits of the law and a certain social consensus which has fortunately evolved regarding domestic violence. In the case of Lapointe, who pleaded guilty, he received a conditional discharge, meaning that he must undergo therapy, must not communicate with the victim and will not have a criminal record after three years.

There now remains the subject of the “second chance” – this is Lapointe’s first conviction for assault – and it will be up to the public to decide, but even more so to those who decide who goes on the air or not. I have always believed in second chances, but I also believe that at TVA, where he was given an hour’s interview to explain himself, we have the beginnings of an answer.


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