- A group of over 50 cultural figures in France have signed an open letter defending 75-year-old actor Gerard Depardieu, who is accused of sexual misconduct, describing him as a victim of public 'lynching.'1
- French actress Carole Bouquet, a former partner of Depardieu, and singer and former first lady of France Carla Bruni, have signed the letter published Monday in Le Figaro.2
- Last week, French Pres. Emmanuel Macron also allegedly supported Depardieu, saying: 'You will never see me participate in a manhunt,' when asked about possibly stripping the actor of France's Legion of Honor award.3
- However, critics have accused the signatories of placing Depardieu above the law and attempting to denounce the MeToo campaign against sexual harassment.4
- This comes after a recent documentary outlined allegations of sexual harassment against Depardieu, who was criminally charged with rape and sexual assault in 2020. However, he has consistently denied any wrongdoing.5
- The documentary, 'The Fall of an Ogre,' includes testimonies of alleged victims and shows Depardieu making obscene remarks about women on camera, including one involving a child riding a pony.6
- Narrative A, as provided by UnHerd. France is long overdue a MeToo reckoning, which will hopefully be spurred by the downfall of one of its most iconic cinema stars. The country has long resisted critically examining its treatment of women and sexual violence, rejecting MeToo as a puritan and Americanizing force. Perhaps now the country will realize that rape culture can only exist for so long without a backlash.
- Narrative B, as provided by New York Times. Depardieu has made an indelible impact on the arts in France, and those contributions should remain his legacy. It's wrong to pass judgments on a man who has not had his day in court, yet sensationalist media does away with the presumption of innocence wholesale. Charges this serious deserve intense and careful scrutiny, not the knee-jerk reactions of an angry mob.