Catherine Deneuve and 100 French women denounce #MeToo 'puritanism'

Catherine Deneuve and 100 French women denounce #MeToo 'puritanism'

Deneuve denounced the #MeToo movement and its French equivalent, #Balancetonporc (Call out your pig), in a letter, signed by over 100 French actors, and said the movements have created a totalitarian climate by publicly prosecuting private experiences.

Deneuve and 99 other French women on Tuesday denounced a backlash against men, saying the recent worldwide campaign against sexual harassment amounted to "puritanism" and was fueled by a "hatred of men".

Deneuve has spoken about women's issues in the past, even admitting to having an illegal abortion in France in the 1970s. Likening the public reckoning that's ousted many high-profile men from positions of power to a "witch hunt", they lamented that "expedited justice already has its victims, men prevented from practicing their profession as punishment, forced to resign, etc., while the only thing they did wrong was touching a knee, trying to steal a kiss, or speaking about "intimate" things at a work dinner..."

The Time's Up initiative, aimed at fighting sexual harassment in and outside of Hollywood, also called on women to wear black on the red carpet.

Caroline De Haas - self-described militant feminist and founder of the women's organization Osez Le Feminisme - made the rounds in French media today to share her disgust at the letter, which she says sounds like it comes from "another century".

In the aftermath of accusations against the USA movie producer Weinstein, millions of women took to social media to share their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted, using the #Metoo hashtag. They worry #MeToo could be a movement that sees no boundaries, where censorship is replacing artistic expression. Others have been more critical, such as Asia Argento, who famously accused Harvey Weinstein of rape and cites the op-ed as proof that its writers have been all but lobotomized by the patriarchy.

In October, Deneuve similarly called the movement "excessive," saying it was not "the right way to change things".

"I don't think it is the right method to change things, it is excessive", she said a year ago.

Deneuve had also sparked an outcry last March, when she expressed her support for filmmaker Roman Polanski, who is still wanted in the United States for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977. He eventually pleaded guilty to unlawful intercourse with a minor, but fled the U.S.in 1978 before he was sentenced for the crime.

This article was updated with the activists' response on Wednesday.

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