Gérard Depardieu: Feminists criticise Emmanuel Macron over defence of actor

Gérard Depardieu pictured in 2018
Image caption,The French president said France’s highest honour should not be taken away from the actor

Feminist figures have criticised French President Emmanuel Macron over his defence of the actor Gérard Depardieu.

In an interview, President Macron said Depardieu was the target of a “manhunt” and added France’s highest honour, the Legion of Honour, should not be withdrawn from him.

Depardieu has been accused of sexual assault or harassment by 13 women, and was filmed making obscene remarks in a documentary released this month.

He denies any wrongdoing.

Speaking to French TV on Wednesday, Mr Macron said Depardieu was “a great actor” who “makes France proud”.

A documentary released this month showed Depardieu sexually harassing a translator and making sexual comments about a 10-year-old child. In response, the Premier of Quebec stripped Depardieu of the Canadian province’s National Order honour on 13 December.

But Mr Macron said the Legion of Honour – France’s highest honour, which Depardieu was awarded in 1996 – was “not there to do any moralising”. He added that the Legion should not be taken away from Depardieu on the basis of “reports”.

Depardieu was placed under judicial investigation on suspicion of rape and sexual assault in 2020.

He was also accused in April of sexual assault or harassment by 13 women. He has strenuously denied all of the allegations.

Sandrine Rousseau, an MP for the Green party, said the president had insulted victims of sexual violence with his defence of the actor.

She told French radio: “Someone who sexualises a 10-year-old child does not make a country proud.”

Raphaëlle Rémy-Leleu, a Paris councillor for the Greens, said that unless Depardieu was held accountable, victims of sexual assault “will never mean as much as a man’s supposed reputation”.

She said the president was letting French women down.

President Macron has previously said that gender equality would be his “great cause”.

But feminist groups have said they are disappointed by the results of his terms in office.

A report published in 2022 said his policies were “insufficient” and had failed to transform a “profoundly sexist system”.

Mr Macron’s appointment of Gérald Darmanin as interior minister in 2020, despite two accusations of rape, was also criticised by feminist groups.

Mr Darmanin has never been convicted of a crime. A case brought by one of his accusers, Sophie Patterson-Spatz, was dismissed in 2022.

Élisabeth Borne, appointed prime minister by http://tehmasnisdingin.com/ Mr Macron last year, is France’s second female head of government.

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