Catherine Deneuve Pens Apology After Criticizing #MeToo Movement

Catherine Deneuve - H Getty 2018
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The French film star clarified her position while apologizing to victims.

Following a weeklong outcry after signing on to an anti-#MeToo letter, French film star Catherine Deneuve has published a “clarification” letter in which she apologized to victims of sexual assault and harassment.

Deneuve was the most high-profile of 100 women who added their names to the letter published in newspaper Le Monde that decried the #MeToo movement (known in France as #BalanceTonPorc) as “Puritanical” and called it a “witch hunt.”

In the mea culpa published Sunday night in the newspaper Liberation, Deneuve addressed the criticism that she is not a feminist by reminding readers that she is one of the signatories of another letter, now known as the “Manifesto of 343 Sluts,” in which she declared publicly that she had had an abortion. When published in 1971, the signatories could have faced criminal prosecution and jail. That letter called for reproductive rights and was written by French feminist Simone de Beauvoir.

“That is why I would like to say to conservatives, racists and traditionalists of all kinds who have found it strategic to support me that I am not fooled. They will have neither my gratitude nor my friendship,” she wrote.

“I am a free woman and I will remain so," the actress continued. "I fraternally salute all the victims of odious acts that may have felt aggrieved by this letter published in Le Monde. It is to them and to them alone that I apologize.”

Deneuve also distanced herself from co-signer Brigitte Lahaie, a former porn star turned radio host, who said last week during a televised debate with French feminist Caroline de Haas that it is possible for women to enjoy rape. Deneuve wrote that Lahaie’s comments are “spitting in the face of all those who have suffered this crime.”

However, the Oscar nominee defended her position that she disagrees with some aspects of the #MeToo movement, including the climate of censorship and the mob mentality. “I do not like this characteristic of our time … when simple denunciations on social networks generate punishment, resignation and often media lynching,” she wrote.

Without naming names, Deneuve seemingly referenced two cases — the removal of Kevin Spacey from All the Money in the World and the resignation of New York Ballet head Peter Martins — saying that both faced repercussions “without any other form of trial.”

“I do not excuse anything, [but] I do not decide on the guilt of these men because I am not qualified to. And few are,” she wrote, adding that the hashtag movement cannot guarantee there are no innocent men accused and fired.

Deneuve, however, also gave support to the victims of sexual harassment, adding that she has seen and heard of many situations of directors using their position over actresses. She called for new protocols to combat harassment, with cases being heard in a timely manner. “I believe in justice,” Deneuve wrote.