Harvey Weinstein just got a little touchy over comments made about his company's film "The Intouchables."
Weinstein lashed out at Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former president of France's right-wing National Front party, over statements that Le Pen recently made on France 3's "National French Journal," calling his statements "repulsive" and "bigoted."
“It's not a surprise to hear such an intolerant statement from the man who founded and was president of the extreme-right, xenophobic, racist National Front party," Weinstein said. "Le Pen made a repulsive statement, representing a bigoted world view. And right now, Jean-Marie's daughter, Marine Le Pen, is running for president of France as the leader of the National Front party — and she is fourth in the polls with almost 16% of the population intending to vote for her. That's frightening to me, and I think it's important to speak up and speak out against Le Pen and his ideas."
In the interview, Le Pen — who favors an isolationist, anti-immigrant approach for France — compared "The Intouchables" to what Le Pen sees as France's increasing reliance on immigrant resources.
The film, based on a true story, tells the tale of a disabled French nobleman who bonds with a black Muslim ex-con whom he hires as his caretaker.
“France is like this handicapped person stuck in this wheelchair, and we are going to have to wait for the help of these suburb youngsters and the immigration in general," Le Pen said into the interview. "I don't subscribe to this point of view … It would be a disaster if France would find itself in the same situation as this poor handicapped person.”
Perhaps not so coincidentally, the film, directed by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano, will premiere Thursday night in New York at Alice Tully Hall, as part as Rendez-Vous with French Cinema's opening night. It will be released in the United States by the Weinstein Company on May 25.