Carla Bruni, Charlotte Rampling & Carole Bouquet Sign French Entertainment World Open Letter Decrying “Lynching” Of Gérard Depardieu

Some 50 French entertainment personalities have signed an open letter speaking out against the public “lynching” and cancelling of Gérard Depardieu in the wake of multiple accusations of sexual assault and one of rape.

The signatories include former first lady, top model and musician Carla Bruni as well as popular actors Charlotte Rampling, Carole Bouquet, Nathalie Baye and Pierre Richard.

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The signatories said they did not want to pass comment on the accusations against Depardieu but could not remain silent in the face of the backlash against the actor in recent weeks.

“We are artists, writers and cinema producers. It’s in this capacity that we’re expressing ourselves here,” read the letter, published in Le Figaro newspaper on Christmas Day.

“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.

“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.”

The open letter comes just five days after French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke out in defense of Depardieu in a TV interview.

Depardieu commented on the open letter in a telephone interview with French radio network RTL on December 26.

He said he had not been involved in the initiative but revealed the letter had been written by a friend of his daughter Julie Depardieu, the writer Yannis Ezziad, who sent it to him before making it public.

“I was presented with the letter… I found it very beautiful so I told the author he could publish it,” said the actor.

Depardieu’s star has plummeted in France in recent weeks in the wake of the airing of state broadcaster France 2’s investigative show Complément d’Enquête on December 7, probing historic accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior against him.

The show followed in the wake of a special report by news website Médiapart last April detailing allegations by 13 women as well as another two allegations reported by French radio station France Inter over the summer.

Prior to the Mediaport report, actress Charlotte Arnould became the first woman to lodge an official complaint against Depardieu in 2018, accusing him of rape. The case is currently making its way through the courts.

The Complément d’Enquête report revealed that a second woman, French actress Hélène Darras, had also lodged a complaint against Depardieu in September, related to events on the set of the 2007 dance comedy Disco.

The show also revealed recordings of Depardieu talking in an inappropriate manner to a young, female interpreter during a trip to North Korea.

It also featured an interview with France Télévisions Head Of Development Manual Alduy in which he explained that the network had paused the greenlighting of projects with Depardieu due to the growing accusations against the actor, but it would continue to air his past body of work.

A third woman, Spanish journalist Ruth Baza, is reported to have made an official complaint against the actor in Spain in relation to an incident that took place during an interview Paris in 1995 when she was 23 years old, in the wake of the show’s broadcast.

It has not yet been confirmed whether the latter two complaints will be formally investigated by the judiciary.

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