Emmanuel Macron says Gerard Depardieu is the victim of a 'manhunt'
Emmanuel Macron says Gerard Depardieu is the victim of a ‘manhunt’ after the actor was accused of multiple sex attacks
- French actor Gerard Depardieu is implicated in several cases of sexual assault
Emmanuel Macron has sparked fury by defending alleged rapist and serial sex abuser Gerard Depardieu.
The President of France appeared on a TV chat show and said he detested the actor being subjected to a ‘manhunt’.
Depardieu, the 74-year-old star of hit films including Green Card and The Last Metro, has been charged with rape in connection with an alleged attack on a young actress.
He is implicated in at least 14 other cases of sexual assault, and vehemently denies all the accusations against him. Just yesterday, it was revealed that a Spanish journalist had become the latest woman to accuse the actor of rape.
Mr Macron came out in support of Depardieu on Wednesday evening, during a two-hour interview on France 5’s ‘C à vous’ programme.
He said: ‘According to our values, there is the presumption of innocence. I hate manhunts.’
The President of France appeared on a TV chat show (pictured) and said he detested the actor being subjected to a ‘manhunt’
Depardieu is implicated in at least 14 other cases of sexual assault, and vehemently denies all the accusations against him
Mr Macron added: ‘If every time someone accuses you of the worst and you have a public role, you can no longer do anything, it is the air of suspicion, it is no longer a democracy. We are no longer free citizens.’
READ MORE: Spanish journalist becomes latest woman to make rape claim against Gerard Depardieu – two weeks after actress who also accused him of assault jumped to her death into the Seine
Mr Macron has also said Depardieu should not be stripped of his Legion d’Honneur – France’s highest civilian award – because ‘it is not a moral tool’.
This is despite Rima Abdul Malak, Mr Macron’s own Culture Minister, saying Depardieu had ‘brought shame of France’ with his all-round sexist behaviour, and should not retain the Legion d’Honneur.
Other politicians spoke out on Thursday, with MP Sandrine Rousseau saying on Twitter/X: ‘Emmanuel Macron’s words about Depardieu are once again an insult to the free speech of victims of the sexual violence movement.’
She also told French radio: ‘Someone who sexualises a 10-year-old child does not make a country proud.’
Her comments came after Depardieu was reportedly filmed making sexual comments about a girl aged ten and groped his interpreter’s bottom during a visit to North Korea in 2018.
Raphaëlle Rémy-Leleu, a Paris councillor for the Greens, said that victims of sexual assault ‘will never mean as much as a man’s supposed reputation’ unless Depardieu is held accountable.
And Olivier Faure, first secretary of the French Socialist Party, noted how ‘violence against women’ had become a ‘major theme’ during Macron’s term of office.
Mr Macron has also said Depardieu should not be stripped of his Legion d’Honneur – France’s highest civilian award – because ‘it is not a moral tool’
MP Sandrine Rousseau (pictured) said: ‘Emmanuel Macron’s words about Depardieu are once again an insult to the free speech of victims of the sexual violence movement.’
He said that if he was a Macron lieutenant, he would seriously consider resigning, along with health minister Aurelien Rousseau.
Mr Rousseau dramatically quit Mr Macron’s government on Wednesday, over controversial new immigration legislation.
Paris prosecutors confirmed last week that a criminal enquiry has been opened into the ‘mysterious death’ of a French actress who had accused Depardieu of sexual violence.
It is feared that the last hours of Emmanuelle Debever, 60, may be linked to multiple abuse accusations levelled against Depardieu.
Ms Debever disappeared from the home she shared with an unidentified partner in Paris late last month, before apparently jumping off a bridge in the French capital eight days later.
Actress Charlotte Arnould, 28, has also accused the actor of criminal behaviour.
French actress Charlotte Arnould (pictured) went public with her accusation that Depardieu, 74, raped her in his Paris mansion. Ms Arnould, 33, renounced her legal right to anonymity at the end of 2021, to protest at how long the investigation is taking
Helene Darras, a French actress who claims Depardieu assaulted her in 2007
There is CCTV footage of Depardieu performing a sex act on Arnould at his Paris mansion in August 2018, but he insists it was consensual.
Ms Arnould renounced her legal right to anonymity at the end of 2021, following Depardieu being charged with rape and sexual assault.
Within a few days of his indictment, Depardieu was back working on the Paris location of the police drama Maigret And The Dead Girl, in which he starred with Jade Labeste.
In October, he broke his silence over claims that he is a serial sex abuser saying: ‘I am neither a rapist nor a predator.’
Accusing enemies of subjecting him to a ‘lynching’ in the media, he expressed his anger in an open letter in Le Figaro newspaper.
The Charlotte Arnould case is currently making its way through the French courts after an attempt by Depardieu’s counsel to get the charges overturned was overruled.
Accusations against Depardieu follow a series of MeToo complaints against powerful men in the Paris arts establishment who are said to have raped or otherwise abused young women working as models and actresses.
Such scandals have led to demonstrations by women’s groups at high-profile showbusiness events, as they call for female actors to stop working with allegedly abusive men.
In 2017, President Macron withdrew the Legion of Honour from Harvey Weinstein after a series of accusations of sexual harassment and rape which eventually saw the Hollywood mogul imprisoned.
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