- French artists rally behind Gérard Depardieu, claiming his artistic contributions shouldn’t be overshadowed by sexual misconduct allegations.
- Depardieu’s artistic genius is celebrated as integral to the history of art in France and his unique personality cannot be ignored.
- Despite the allegations, French President Emmanuel Macron praised Depardieu, calling him a source of national pride.
The sexual harassment case brought against Gérard Depardieu by actress Hélène Darras has been dropped by prosecutors due to the statute of limitations. Darras is one of thirteen women to have accused the French star of sexual assault, with incidents going back decades. Depardieu has not been convicted of any charges brought against him and continues to deny all wrongdoing.
Previously, 56 French artists and performers spoke out against the “lynching” of the renowned actor in light of public outrage stemming from numerous sexual misconduct allegations. An open letter, titled Don’t Erase Gérard Depardieu and published on Christmas in the French newspaper Le Figaro, was signed by celebrities including former First Lady of France, model and musician Carla Bruni, and actors Carole Bouquet (Depardieu’s former partner), Pierre Richard, Victoria Abril, and Charlotte Rampling.
Per Deadline, the letter (in part) reads:
“We don’t want to enter into debate, and we leave the judiciary to do its job. Gérard Depardieu is probably one the greatest actors. One of the last sacred icons of cinema. We cannot remain silent in the face of the backlash against him, the torrent of hatred which is poured on him without nuance, with the greatest conflation and scorn for the presumption of innocence, that he would have benefited from had he not been the giant of cinema that he is.”
The signatories praise Depardieu’s artistic accolades, noting that his work as a performer has enriched the “history of art.”
“When one goes after Gérard Depardieu in this way, it’s art that is under attack. Through his genius as an actor Gérard Depardieu has participated in the artistic influence of our country. He contributes to the history of art, in the highest way. He is part of this history and continues to enrich it. France owes him a lot for that. Cinema and theatre cannot pass over his unique personality.”
Depardieu discussed the letter today during a telephonic conversation with French radio network RTL; after noting that it was scribed by a friend of his daughter’s (the writer Yannis Ezziad), he shared:
I was presented with the letter… I found it very beautiful so I told the author he could publish it.
Of the 56 stars rallying behind the actor, 24 are women.
Gérard Depardieu’s Tarnished Legacy
The 74-year-old actor has appeared in over 240 films throughout his illustrious career, including César Award-winning performances in The Last Metro and Cyrano de Bergerac; the latter earned the actor an Oscar nod. His other notable credits include Police, Jean de Florette, Green Card, Ridley Scott’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet, The Man in the Iron Mask and Life of Pi.
Despite his success on-screen, Depardieu has been the subject of several sexual misconduct allegations that began coming to light in 2018. That year, actress Charlotte Arnould filed a lawsuit against Depardieu, claiming he sexually assaulted her twice; he was indicted on rape charges in connection with that case in 2020, and an investigation is ongoing. Earlier this year, 13 other women accused the actor of sexual misconduct, stemming from accidents dating back to 2004 and as recently as 2022. A documentary that aired earlier this month on the public service channel France 2 highlighted accusations from 16 women against the actor and also showed footage of Depardieu making inappropriate remarks during a trip to North Korea in 2018, sparking even more backlash against the acclaimed French actor.
Less than two weeks after the documentary aired, French President Emmanuel Macron said he was a “big admirer” of Depardieu, who he says “makes France proud.”