Catherine Deneuve apologizes to sexual assault victims after #MeToo criticism

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Catherine Deneuve
Noam Galai WireImage Getty Images Catherine Deneuve

16 January, 2018

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.

Author Catherine Millet author of the bestselling memoir, The Sexual Life of Catherine M, and one of the main movers behind the text, also raised eyebrows by standing by a claim that she "really regretted not having being raped, because then I could have shown that you get over it".

Less than a week after signing a public letter blaming the #MeToo anti-harassment movement for spurring puritanism and unfair punishment of men, French star Catherine Deneuve wrote a long statement addressing the backlash provoked by the letter and apologized to victims of "odious acts".

While expressing her opinion that nothing in the open letter published in Le Monde last week suggested in any way that harassment is okay, she also stated that she disagrees with what she regards as lynch mob mentality.

While issuing the apology, Deneuve also explained her decision to sign the letter and stated, "nothing in the text claims that harassment is good".

Deneuve defended her view that men are becoming victims of "media lynching" and denounced the "climate of censorship" the campaign unleashed.

Now she's walking that one back. That is why I want to say to conservatives, racists and traditionalists of all kinds who have found it strategic to support me, I am not fooled. "They will have neither my gratitude nor my friendship", she wrote.

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"I do not excuse anything, [but] I do not decide on the guilt of these men because I am not qualified to".

Saying she felt a need to clarify her position, Deneuve writes, "Yes, I like freedom".

The original letter said that campaigns like #MeToo and its French equivalent #Balancetonporc (Call out your pig) that have stemmed from the Weinstein scandal have gone too far and threaten hard-won sexual freedoms.

It claimed that #MeToo had become a puritanical "witch-hunt" which threatened sexual freedom.

"Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone's knee or try to steal a kiss", the letter read.

"Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not - nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack", the letter said.

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