Deneuve apologises to sex assault victims

Film star says sorry after open letter criticising global #MeToo campaign sparks international outcry

15 January 2018
By Connexion journalist

Film star Catherine Deneuve has apologised to victims of sexual assault who were offended by a controversial open letter she signed that criticised the #MeToo campaign and sparked a global backlash.

In a second letter, published in Liberation, she wrote: "I warmly greet all the victims of these hideous acts who might have felt assaulted by that letter in Le Monde. It is to them and them alone that I offer my apologies."

Deneuve was one of 100 prominent women to sign the open letter defending a man's right to "pester" women, complaining that the campaign against harassment had become "puritanical".

She said that she had signed the letter because she opposed the “media lynching” of men accused of inappropriate behaviour.

"Yes, I signed that petition, however, it seems absolutely necessary today to underline my disagreement with the way certain signatories have individually assumed the right to expand upon it in the media, distorting the spirit of the text,” she wrote.

Deneuve also said that there was "nothing in the [original] letter" that had been published the previous Tuesday that said "anything good about harassment, otherwise I wouldn't have signed it."

And she dismissed the “conservatives, racists and traditionalists of all kinds who have found it strategic to give me their support”.

Other who had signed the Le Monde letter, including author Catherine Millet and actor Catherine Robbe-Grillet, welcomed Deneuve's latest intervention, saying the outcry had "reaffirmed the need to preserve sexual freedom".

In 1971, Deneuve was one of 343 women, along with feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir, to sign a declaration admitting they had an abortion when it was still illegal.

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