Carla Bruni, Charlotte Rampling Among 56 French Stars to Denounce Gerard Depardieu Rape Allegations as ‘Lynching’

As the actor is under formal investigation, 13 women came forward accusing him of sexual misconduct

Gerard Depardieu
Gerard Depardieu at a press conference for "Saint Amour" (Credit: Getty Collection)

In an open letter published on Tuesday, 56 French stars and producers have come forward to defend actor Gerard Depardieu in the wake of a formal investigation and additional accusations of rape and sexual misconduct against the performer.

The essay was published in Le Figaro, a conservative-leaning daily French newspaper. Its signatories included the former First Lady of France and singer-songwriter Carla Bruni as well as Depardieu’s former partner, Carole Bousquet. It also included signatures from acclaimed actors Pierre Richard (“A Chef in Love”), Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”) and Victoria Abril (“Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!”).

According to the Associated Press, two dozen of those who signed the letter were women and many are from Depardieu’s generation. The actor is 74 years old.

“Gérard Depardieu is probably the greatest actor,” the letter stated. “We can no longer remain silent in the face of the lynching that fell upon him, in the face of the torrent of hatred that pours down on his person, without nuance, in the most complete amalgamation and in defiance of a presumption of innocence of which he would have benefited, like everyone else, if he were not the giant of cinema that he is.”

These figures of the French film industry aren’t the only big names who have come to Depardieu’s defense in the months since the investigation began. Last Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron referred to the many sexual assault allegations against the actor as a “witch hunt.” The political leader also dismissed calls to strip Depardieu of his Legion of Honour medal.

“I am a great admirer of Gérard Depardieu,” Macron said during an appearance on the French talk show C à Vous. “As president of the republic and as a citizen, I say he makes France proud.”

Depardieu is currently in the midst of several accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior. In 2018, Charlotte Arnould filed a lawsuit against the iconic French actor, claiming that Depardieu sexually assaulted her twice in his home during rehearsals. Two years later, French authorities charged Depardieu with rape due to the incident.

Despite Depardieu’s requests the case be dropped, the Paris Court of Appeal refused to drop the charges in March 2023 and launched a formal investigation against the actor. Moving forward, the case will either be brought to trial or dismissed.

Depardieu has maintained his innocence. Though he did not use Arnould’s name, the actor penned an open letter about the incident, stating that he was “neither a rapist, nor a predator.”

“Mr. Depardieu formally denies all the charges likely to come under criminal law,” a representative for law firm Cabinet Temime et Associés told TheWrap at the time.

And Arnould’s is not the only accusation against Depardieu. Earlier this year, 13 women accused the actor of sexual misconduct while shooting 11 films between 2004 and 2022.

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