DVD Release DateFrench prosecutors drop Gérard Depardieu sexual assault case

French prosecutors drop Gérard Depardieu sexual assault case

  • 56 French artists rally behind Gérard Depardieu, despite sexual misconduct allegations, defending his artistic legacy.
  • An open letter in Le Figaro titled “Don’t Erase Gérard Depardieu” argues Depardieu’s contributions to art outweigh the backlash.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron expresses admiration for the actor, calling him a source of national pride.

A recent sexual harassment case against Gérard Depardieu, brought by actress Hélène Darras, has been dropped due to the statute of limitations. Darras is one of thirteen women who have accused Depardieu of sexual assault, with incidents spanning decades. Depardieu has not been convicted of any charges and continues to deny any wrongdoing.

In response to the public backlash, 56 French artists and performers have defended Depardieu in an open letter published in Le Figaro on Christmas. Signatories of the letter, titled “Don’t Erase Gérard Depardieu,” include former French First Lady Carla Bruni, actors Carole Bouquet (Depardieu’s former partner), Pierre Richard, Victoria Abril, and Charlotte Rampling.

The letter states, “We don’t want to enter into debate, and we leave the judiciary to do its job. Gérard Depardieu is probably one the greatest actors…We cannot remain silent in the face of the backlash against him, the torrent of hatred which is poured on him without nuance, with the greatest conflation and scorn for the presumption of innocence…”

Furthermore, the signatories emphasize Depardieu’s artistic achievements and argue that his work has enriched the “history of art” in France. The letter goes on to say, “when one goes after Gérard Depardieu in this way, it’s art that is under attack…France owes him a lot for that. Cinema and theatre cannot pass over his unique personality.”

Depardieu discussed the letter in a recent conversation with French radio network RTL, revealing that it was written by a friend of his daughter’s, Yannis Ezziad. He said, “I was presented with the letter…I found it very beautiful so I told the author he could publish it.”

24 of the 56 stars defending Depardieu are women. The actor, who has appeared in over 240 films, has been the subject of numerous sexual misconduct allegations since 2018. Actress Charlotte Arnould filed a lawsuit that year, accusing him of sexually assaulting her twice. Depardieu was indicted on rape charges in connection with that case in 2020, and an investigation remains ongoing.

This year, 13 other women have accused Depardieu of sexual misconduct, stemming from incidents dating back to 2004 and as recently as 2022. A documentary aired earlier this month on France 2 highlighted accusations from 16 women and showcased footage of Depardieu making inappropriate remarks during a 2018 trip to North Korea, sparking further backlash against the actor.

Despite the allegations, French President Emmanuel Macron praised Depardieu less than two weeks after the documentary aired, calling him a “big admirer” and stating that he “makes France proud.”