Catherine Deneuve Criticizes #MeToo Movement as "Puritanical" in French Op-Ed

Catherine Deneuve - Street Style  - Getty - embed - 2016
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'The Secret Life of Catherine M.' author Catherine Millet was also among the 100 women from academia, the arts, and media who signed the open letter in Le Monde.

Legendary French actress Catherine Deneuve is among 100 women from entertainment, academia, the arts and media who signed an editorial Tuesday in French daily Le Monde, criticizing the current #MeToo movement for restricting sexual freedom.

“Rape is a crime, but insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a macho aggression,” the editorial began.

Signatories went on to say that while the fallout from the #MeToo movement has raised awareness of legitimate sexual violence against women, the ensuing naming and shaming of men has become a "Puritanical" witch hunt.

Using the French equivalent hashtag, “BalanceTonPorc,” meaning “SquealOnYourPig,” the signatories said the movement has become a fervor to send the “’pigs’ to the slaughterhouse, far from helping women to empower themselves, and actually serves the enemies of sexual freedom, [and] religious extremists.”

The movement, they said, “has led to a campaign of public denunciations and impeachment of individuals in the press and on social networks, who, without being given the opportunity to respond or defend themselves are put on the same level as sex offenders.” The named men have themselves become victims, they write, where “their only wrong is to have touched a knee, tried to steal a kiss, talking about ‘intimate’ topics in a business dinner, or sending sexually explicit messages to a woman who was not attracted to them.”

Other than Oscar nominee Deneuve, the signatories included German actress Ingrid Caven, book publisher Joelle Losfeld, journalist Elisabeth Levu and former porn star-turned-radio host Brigitte Lahaie. Writers Catherine Millet, author of the memoir The Sexual Life of Catherine M., and Catherine Robbe-Grillet, author of S&M novels including The Punishement of Anne, also signed on.

On Twitter, other media personalities agreed with the op-ed, including former Le Grand Journal host Maitena Biraben