French actresses hit back at #MeToo 'witch hunt'

  • 10/01/2018
French actresses hit back at #MeToo 'witch hunt', say men should continue to freely 'hit on' women.
Catherine Deneuve Photo credit: Getty

Oscar-nominated actress Catherine Deneuve is among nearly 100 French women who have signed an open letter condemning sexual misconduct awareness campaigns such as #MeToo and #TimesUp.

The letter hits back at the "puritanical... wave of purification", claiming the campaigns are akin to religious extremists restricting sexual liberty.

It was published in Le Monde and reported on in English by The Guardian.

"Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or cack-handedly, is not - nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack," the letter states.

"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."

Deneuve, 74, was nominated in 1993 for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Indochine. She is also known for playing her portrayal of a bored housewife who spends her afternoons as a prostitute in 1967 classic Belle de Jour.

The letter's other signatories include actresses, writers and academics.

"As women we do not recognise ourselves in this feminism, which beyond denouncing the abuse of power takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality," the letter states.

"What began as freeing women up to speak has today turned into the opposite - we intimidate people into speaking 'correctly', shout down those who don't fall into line, and those women who refused to bend [to the new realities] are regarded as complicit and traitors.

"Instead of helping women this frenzy to send these (male chauvinist) 'pigs' to the abattoir actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty - religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries."

The letter was published just days after the Golden Globes ceremony was held in Los Angeles, which featured many stars dressed completely in black in recognition of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.