Catherine Deneuve has criticised the #MeToo movement by signing an open letter which has claimed that men should be “free to hit on” women.
The Parisian-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 yesterday (January 9).
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.”
While the letter says it was necessary to speak out against the abuse of power by some men, it goes on to claim that the #MeToo movement had created an unfair environment for men: “[Men], who are sanctioned in their work, [are] pushed to resign, etc., when their only wrongdoing was to touch a knee, try to steal a kiss, speak about intimate things during a professional dinner or send messages that are sexually loaded to a woman who wasn’t attracted to them.
“As women we do not recognise ourselves in this feminism, which beyond denouncing the abuse of power, takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality,” the letter also states.
Critics of the open letter were quick to register their reaction yesterday, with Italian actress Asia Argento – who has come forward to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault – tweeting: “Deneuve and other women tell the world how their interiorised misogyny has lobotomised them to the point of no return.”