Gerard Depardieu questioned by police over sexual assault allegations

The allegations reportedly come from two different women about conduct on film sets in 2014 and 2021

Tom Watling
Monday 29 April 2024 18:26 BST
French actor Gerard Depardieu
French actor Gerard Depardieu (BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

French actor Gerard Depardieu has been questioned at a police station in Paris, reportedly over allegations of sexual assault.

The 75-year-old was summoned over two separate allegations brought by two women who worked with Depardieu on film sets in 2014 and 2021, broadcater BFMTV said.

The women have reportedly alleged that Mr Depardieu groped them during filming, once in 2014 on the set of The Magician and the Siamese. and the other in 2021, on the set of The Green Shutters.

Later on Monday, a lawyer for Depardieu said French police are no longer holding the actor. The lawyer, Christian Saint-Palais, said: "The police custody is over. He is no longer held in the police station."

The Paris police force said it wasn't authorised to comment and directed questions to the Paris prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office said it had no comment "at this stage."

Police officers stand outside the police station where French actor Gerard Depardieu is expected to be questioned
Police officers stand outside the police station where French actor Gerard Depardieu is expected to be questioned (AP)

One of the two new alleged victim alleged in February that Depardieu grabbed her and touched her breasts on the set of The Green Shutters. Her lawyer told BFMTV that her clinet was “passing through a corridor where Mr Depardieu was sitting”.

“He grabbed her, trapped her between his legs and touched her body up to her breasts,” the lawyer said. “She felt completely powerless, incapable of escaping this trap.”

The alleged 2014 assault was reported to police in January this year, Le Parisien reported.

Depardieu denies wrongdoing and says that any relationships he has had were consensual. In an open letter last October, he said: “I have never, ever abused a woman.” His lawyer is yet to comment on the latest allegations.

In 2020, he was handed preliminary rape and sexual assault charges following allegations from actor Charlotte Arnould dating to 2018. The case remains open.

French President Emmanuel Macron described Mr Depardieu as a ‘genius ... who makes France proud’
French President Emmanuel Macron described Mr Depardieu as a ‘genius ... who makes France proud’

A separate case filed last year and relating to allegations of groping on a 2007 film shoot was dropped by prosecutors for being past the statute of limitations.

Depardieu has faced public accusations by a dozen women of harassing, groping or sexually assaulting them.

Oscar-nominated Depardieu was long seen as a national icon in France. He has been a global ambassador for French film, having appeared in more than 200 productions, and enjoyed international fame with several roles in Hollywood.

But he has become a divisive figure in French society, with some women viewing him as a symbol of the country’s inability to tackle allegations of sexual abuse by powerful men in the wake of the #Metoo movement.

Others, including French President Emmanuel Macron and several well-known actors, have rallied to his defence.

“He’s an immense actor, a genius of his art,” Mr Macron said late last year. “He makes France proud.” Mr Macron told a press conference the following month that he regretted not having stressed “the importance of the words of women who are victims of this type of violence”.

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