Sexism debate in France revealed by Depardieu row

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PARIS, Dec 28 (Reuters) – An open letter that was written by dozens of actresses and other artists in defense of Gerard Depardieu, the cinematic great who is accused of sexual harassment, has exposed the divisions that exist in France about the #MeToo reckoning with sexism.

Among the more than fifty household cultural personalities who have referred to Depardieu as the victim of a public “lynching” are the actresses Nathalie Baye and Carole Bouquet, who was a previous partner of Depardieu. Carla Bruni, a singer and former first lady, is also included in this group.

One of the allegations made in the letter that was published this week in the conservative daily Le Figaro was that Depardieu had been the target of a “torrent of hatred.” The letter was titled “Don’t Cancel Gerard Depardieu.”

“We can no longer remain silent in the face of the lynching that has descended upon him,” the authors of the letter wrote in their letter.

There is no doubt that Gerard Depardieu is the most talented actor of all time. It is art that you are attacking when you criticize Gerard Depardieu in such a manner.

In recent years, Depardieu, who is 75 years old and has been in a large number of French-language films, the most notable of which was “Going Places” in 1974, has been at the center of an increasing number of complaints of sexual assault.

During the month of March in the year 2022, investigative magistrates formally opened an investigation into Depardieu in connection with a case involving allegations of rape and sexual assault.

In a later statement, the actress Charlotte Arnould, who is 28 years old, admitted that she was the one who made those allegations, stating that she could not continue to keep quiet any longer. In the time since then, more than ten women have leveled allegations of sexual assault against Depardieu.

The allegations that have been made against Depardieu have been “firmly rejected” by his legal team in the past, and he has continuously denied any misconduct being committed.

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“Never, absolutely never, have I abused a woman,” he stated in a letter that was also published in Le Figaro on October 2nd from the same month. The allegations that have been made against him have not resulted in a conviction for him.

When asked in an interview about his cultural minister’s plans to evaluate Depardieu’s Legion d’Honneur medal, which is France’s highest award, President Emmanuel Macron rallied to the defense of Depardieu soon before Christmas. The question was about the latter’s intention to assess the medal.

Macron decried the “manhunt” that was being conducted against Depardieu, but he did not express any sympathy for the people who are believed to have been victims of his actions. Macron spoke to him as a “genius of his art” and remarked, “He is an enormous actor.” “He makes France proud.”

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