Lashing out at what she called a new “puritanism,” Catherine Deneuve, France’s most celebrated living actress, defended a man’s right to hit on women.
She was among over 100 French women in the arts who penned an open letter on Tuesday calling out a “witch hunt” against men following the downfall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, and claiming such a culture threatens sexual freedom.
“Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or cack-handedly, is not — nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack,” said the letter published in the French Newspaper Le Monde.
“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 continued.
According to Agence France-Presse, “The letter attacked feminist social media campaigns like #MeToo and its French equivalent #Balancetonporc (Call out your pig) for unleashing this ‘puritanical… wave of purification.'”
Author Catherine Millet and a porn star were among the women who signed the letter.
Claiming the letter was in defense of sexual freedom, and that targeting men aided the enemies of sexual liberty, the signers compared the currently climate to religious extremism by oppressive reactionaries.
The Oscar-nominated Deneuve, 74, was a vocal critic of the #metoo social media campaign of late 2017.
“I don’t think it is the right method to change things, it is excessive,” she has said. “After ‘Calling our your pig’ what are we going to have, ‘Call our your whore?.'”
Feature Image: Catherine Deneuve in 1967’s Belle de Jour
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