One hundred French women writers, academics, and performers — including famous actress Catherine Deneuve — have signed an open letter condemning much of the #MeToo movement as both “puritanism” and as a “witch hunt.”
“What began as freeing women up to speak has today turned into the opposite — we intimidate people into speaking ‘correctly’, shut down those who don’t fall into line, and those women who refused to bend are regarded as complicit and traitors,” the letter declared. “Instead of helping women, this frenzy to send these (male chauvinist) ‘pigs’ to the abattoir actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty — religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries. 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.”
Among other controversial claims, the letter suggested that men should not be punished for touching women’s knees or trying “to steal a kiss” while at work just because their female coworkers “did not return their attentions.” According to The Guardian, Deneuve said in the letter that men should be “free to hit on” women. “Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or cack-handedly, is not — nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack,” the letter, published in the French newspaper Le Monde, read.
Last year, Deneuve, 74, also condemned the French version of the #Me Too movement, #Balancetonporc, which translates to “call out your pig,” by indicating that it represented a condemnation of sexuality rather than of sexual abuse of women.
“I don’t think it is the right method to change things, it is excessive,” she said at the time. “After ‘Calling out your pig’ what are we going to have, ‘Call out your whore?’”
Deneuve similarly courted controversy last March, when she told French TV that “she always found the word ‘rape’ excessive” in regards to Roman Polanski’s alleged rape of 13-year-old Samantha Gailey in 1977. Gailey has said that Polanski drugged her after a photo shoot before having oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse with her against her will. In October, Polanski was further accused of sexually abusing a then 10-year-old girl.
France’s government, meanwhile, sees things differently. In November, French President Emmanuelle Macron announced a broad initiative to combat sexual harassment and assault, an promised to make “gender-based insults” punishable by law.
Read the full story at Yahoo News.