You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Catherine Deneuve Apologizes to Sexual Assault Victims, Explains Public Letter

Less than a week after signing a public letter blaming the #MeToo anti-harassment movement for spurring puritanism and unfair punishment of men, French star Catherine Deneuve has written a long statement addressing the backlash provoked by the letter and apologized to victims of “odious acts.”

In her personal statement, published in national newspaper Liberation on Monday, Deneuve sought to bring some nuance to the public letter which was signed by 100 women and appeared in Le Monde last Tuesday. That letter contended that the #MeToo movement had led to a puritan crackdown on sexual behavior and that men had a right to offend and bother women.

“I have been an actress since I was 17 years old. I could obviously say that I’ve often been a witness of situations that were more than indelicate, or some that I know from other actresses about filmmakers who cravenly abused their power,” Deneuve wrote in her new statement.

“What creates situations that are traumatizing and unbearable is always the power, the subordination or some sort of overpowering. The trap occurs when it becomes impossible to say no without risking one’s job, or being subjected to humiliations and degrading sarcasm,” the statement said.

Deneuve said she believed the solution would come from educating “our boys as well as our girls.” She also said the solution would arise “eventually from protocols in companies allowing for legal pursuits to be immediately launched in case of harassement. I believe in justice.”

Deneuve, however, insisted on the pertinence of one aspect of last week’s public letter, which criticized the #MeToo anti-harassment movement for leading to a campaign of public denunciation and summary justice fueled by the media.

“I don’t like this aspect of our times where each feels the right to judge, arbitrate, condemn – a society where simple denunciations on social networks lead to punishment, job losses and often lynching in the media.”

Deneuve also said she did not endorse some of the women who signed the public letter and who went on to make shocking declarations in TV interviews. Referring to actress Brigitte Lahaie, who said last week in a TV interview that a woman could have an orgasm during a rape, Deneuve said that “saying on a TV channel that one can have an orgasm during a rape is worse than spitting on the face of all those women who have been victim of this crime.”

Deneuve added: “Nothing in the letter pretends that harassment has some good, otherwise I would not have signed it.”

The actress also addressed criticism over the fact that she wasn’t a feminist champion. “May I remind [people] that I was one of the 343 sluts with Marguerite Duras and Françoise Sagan who signed the manifesto ‘I had an abortion’ written by Simone de Beauvoir?”

Through that manifesto, Deneuve admitted to having had an abortion when abortions were illegal in France in 1971.

“I am a free woman and I’ll always be. I salute fraternally all the victims of odious acts who may have been offended by this public letter published in Le Monde. It is to them and them only that I present my apologies,” said Deneuve in the conclusion to her statement Monday.

More Film

  • Spirit Awards Showcase Oscar Players and

    Spirit Awards Showcase Oscar Players and Also-Rans, With Heavy Hitters on Deck

    Five of the last eight best feature winners at the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have gone on to win best picture at the Oscars, including a four-year streak from 2013-2016. It was a steadily evolving status quo that led former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences governor Bill Mechanic to question his organization’s [...]

  • Bo Burnham34th Film Independent Spirit Awards,

    Bo Burnham Wants 'Eighth Grade' Star Elsie Fisher to Direct Him

    Bo Burnham won his third award in three weeks for “Eighth Grade” at the Spirit Awards and said he wants the film’s 15-year-old Elsie Fisher to direct him. “I’d love to work with Elsie again,” Burnham said backstage after winning the Best First Screenplay trophy.  “She wants to direct so I’d love to switch roles [...]

  • Nicole Holofcener: 'Can You Ever Forgive

    Nicole Holofcener: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Director Was Cheated Out of an Oscar Nomination

    “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” screenwriter Nicole Holofcener offered a blunt assessment of the lack of Academy Awards recognition for director Marielle Heller, and women directors everywhere. “I feel Marielle was cheated and I feel badly about that,” Holofcener said backstage after winning a Spirit Award for screenplay with Jeff Whitty. Holofcener was originally attached [...]

  • Stephan James as Fonny and Brian

    2019 Indie Spirit Awards Winners: Complete List

    The 2019 Independent Spirit Awards took place on a beach in Santa Monica, Calif., with Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” taking the top prize for best feature along with best director for Jenkins. Ethan Hawke and Glenn Close took the prizes for best male lead and best female lead, respectively. Bo Burnham took [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Hated It! How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Gripe About the Oscars

    Watching the Academy Awards telecast, then grousing about it the next day, has become a hipster parlor game — it’s what the Complete Oscar Experience now is. The complaints are legion, and we all know what they are, because we’ve all made them. The show was too long. The host bombed. His or her opening [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content