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France’s most famous actor Gerard Depardieu has written an open letter to prominent French newspaper Le Figaro denying rape and sexual assault allegations against him.
Depardieu was indicted in 2020 on charges of rape and sexual assault over an alleged incident in 2018.
French actor Gerard Depardieu attends the Der Geschmack der kleinen Dinge (Umami) premiere in January in Berlin.Credit: Tristar Media/Getty Images
In the letter, published on October 1, Depardieu alluded to the allegations of rape and sexual assault tied to a 2018 lawsuit filed by Charlotte Arnould, whose parents are old friends of his.
Without naming Arnould, Depardieu says “a woman came to my home a first time, lightly, and willingly stepped into my bedroom. She says today that she was raped there.”
“She came a second time. There was never any constraint, nor violence, nor protestation. She wanted to sing with me the songs by Barbara at the Winter Circus. I told her no. She filed a complaint,” the letter continues. “Never, absolutely never, have I abused a woman.”
In the letter, the 74-year-old says he “can’t consent to what (he’s) hearing, and reading about (him) for the past few months.” “I believed that I didn’t care, but no, in fact no.”
In 1990, Depardieu played Cyrano De Bergerac in Cyrano.Credit: Fairfax Media
“I’ve never ever abused a woman,” he wrote, comparing that as akin to hurting his own mother.
Depardieu has also been accused of sexual assault and harassment by a number of former co-stars and extras on his films, as reported by French investigative website Mediapart earlier this year.
According to Mediapart, their months-long investigation gathered 13 testimonies that accuse Depardieu of inappropriate words or gestures. “The accusations come from actresses, make-up artists and production staff. Often taking place in public, the events are said to have occurred during the shooting of eleven films that came out between 2004 and 2022,” the article says.
In the letter this week, Depardieu describes his behaviour on set as pushing boundaries. “I’ve often done that which others wouldn’t dare to do: pushed limits, shaken certitudes, habits on the set between two takes, between two tensions… to get a laugh.
“Not everyone laughed. If, in believing to live the present intensely, I hurt, shocked someone, whoever it was, it was never my intention to hurt, and I beg you to excuse me for behaving like a child who wanted to have fun in a gallery.”
Director Fabien Onteniente – whose 2008 Disco and 2013 film Turf starred the French actor – told the publication that on one occasion he confronted Depardieu over his behaviour. Depardieu himself denies any criminal behaviour.
None of the 13 women who spoke to Mediapart have taken legal action, according to a statement provided to Variety by the Paris prosecutor’s office in April. When Mediapart’s article was published in April, Depardieu cut short his music show, which had been touring.
One of France’s biggest cinema exports, Depardieu is best known for his 1990 role as Cyrano in Cyrano De Bergerac, which was nominated for five Academy Awards and won best actor and best film at the Cannes Film Festival.
He also starred alongside Andie McDowell in the 1990 romantic comedy Green Card; Australian director Peter Weir wrote the script for the Golden Globe winning film as a vehicle for Depardieu, to introduce him to an English-speaking audience.
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