'I am not fooled': Catherine Deneuve blasts conservatives 'strategically' supporting her #MeToo stance

'They will have neither my gratitude nor my friendship, quite the contrary'

Christopher Hooton
Monday 15 January 2018 09:37 GMT
Men should be 'free to hit on' women, 100 prominent female French artists say

Catherine Deneuve has responded to the fallout caused by the open letter she and 99 other prominent female creatives signed in Le Monde criticising the #MeToo movement.

"Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss," the letter claimed. "Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not – and nor is men being gentlemanly a chauvinist attack."

In her own open letter published in Libération on Sunday, the Oscar-nominated actor apologised to "all victims of odious acts who may have felt offended" by the letter, but stood by its contents, saying there was "nothing in the letter" that said "anything good about harassment, otherwise I wouldn't have signed it".

"Yes, I like freedom," she clarified. "I don’t like this characteristic of our times whereby everyone feels they have the right to judge, to arbitrate, to condemn. A time where simple denunciations on social media generate punishment, resignation and sometimes, and often, lynching by the media.

"I don’t excuse anything. I don’t decide the guilt of these men because I am not qualified to do so. And few are… No, I don’t like this pack mentality."

Rather than the letter, it was comments since made by some of the other women who signed it that spurred her to speak publicly.

"It seems to me absolutely necessary today to underline my disagreement with the manner in which some of the signatories claim the right to permeate the media, distorting the spirit of the original text."

In particular, she said one woman's claim on television that is possible for someone to orgasm during rape "is worse than spitting in the face of all those who have suffered this crime."

Deneuve, who reminded people questioning her feminist credentials that she signed Simone de Beauvoir's 1971 manifesto defending abortion rights, also had a message for conservatives championing her.

"I want to say to conservatives, racists and traditionalists of all kinds who have found it strategic to support me, I am not fooled. They will have neither my gratitude nor my friendship, quite the contrary.

"I am a free woman and I will continue to be. I warmly salute all the victims of odious acts who may have felt offended by the letter published in Le Monde, it’s to them and them alone that I apologize."

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