Catherine Deneuve apologises to sex assault victims after denouncing #MeToo

"It is to them and them alone that I offer my apologies"

French actress Catherine Deneuve has apologised to victims of sexual assault who were ‘offended’ over her decision to sign an open letter that denounces the #MeToo movement.

The Paris-born actress, who has starred in such films as Belle de Jour, Indochine and The Hunger, is one of 100 female signees of the letter, which was published in the French newspaper Le Monde last week .

The letter – which was also signed by a number of French writers, performers and academics – warned of a new “puritanism” as a result of the recent surge of sexual harassment scandals, stating:

“Rape is a crime. But trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not – and nor is men being gentlemanly a chauvinist attack.”

But while Deneuve maintains that “nothing in the letter” warranted the subsequent backlash, she has apologised to victims of sexual assault who may have been offended by it.

“I warmly greet all the victims of these hideous acts who might have felt offended by that letter which appeared in Le Monde. It is to them and them alone that I offer my apologies”, she said in a letter on the website of newspaper Liberation.

“I love freedom”, she later added.

“I don’t like this characteristic of our era where everyone feels they have the right … to condemn. An era where simple denunciations on social networks cause punishment, resignation, and … often media lynching”.

Among the original critics of the letter was Italian actress Asia Argento – who has come forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assaulttweeting: “Deneuve and other women tell the world how their interiorised misogyny has lobotomised them to the point of no return.”