French actress Catherine Deneuve has apologized for signing an open letter last week that called the #MeToo movement “puritanical” and a “witch hunt.”
Deneuve wrote an op-ed for French newspaper Liberation, in which she said in French (translated by Google), “Yes, I signed this petition, and yet it seems to me absolutely necessary today to emphasize my disagreement with the way some petitioners individually claim the right to spread in the media, distorting the very spirit of this text.”
“I have been an actress since I was 17 years old,” she added. “I could of course say that I have witnessed situations more than delicate, or that I know from other actresses that filmmakers have cowardly abused their power. Simply, it’s not for me to speak in the place of my sisters.”
The letter, published in France’s Le Monde, said men should be “free to hit on” women and that “rape is a crime but insistent or clumsy flirting is not,” according to a translation in The Local. Among roughly 100 other French writers, performers and academics who signed the letter were Deneuve and Catherine Millet — author of the 2002 memoir “The Sexual Life of Catherine M.”
Deneuve continued, “I was sometimes criticized for not being a feminist. Do I remember that I was one of the 343 sluts with Marguerite Duras and Françoise Sagan who signed the manifesto ‘I had an abortion’ written by Simone de Beauvoir? Abortion was punishable by criminal prosecution and imprisonment at the time. That is why I would like to say to conservatives, racists and traditionalists of all kinds who have found it strategic to support me that I am not fooled. They will have neither my gratitude nor my friendship, on the contrary. I am a free woman and I will remain so. I greet fraternally all the victims of odious acts that may have felt aggrieved by this forum published in Le Monde, it is to them and to them alone that I apologize.”
“Nothing in the letter pretends that harassment has some good, otherwise I would not have signed it,” Deneuve claims.
The original letter also said the #MeToo movement “has led in the press and on social networks a campaign of public denunciations and impeachment of individuals who, without being given the opportunity to respond or defend themselves, were put exactly on the same level as sex offenders.”
Deneuve, 74, made her breakthrough in the film industry with the musical “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” and was nominated for an Oscar in 1993 for her performance in “Indochine.
Read Deneuve’s full apology letter here.