Gérard Depardieu has broken his silence over accusations of rape and sexual assault made against him in recent years, addressing the cases in an open letter in Le Figaro newspaper.
“I can no longer allow what I hear, what I have read about myself for several months. I thought I didn’t care, but no, actually no. This all gets to me. Worse still, it wipes me out,” he wrote.
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A rape charge against the French actor, made by actress Charlotte Arnould in 2018, is currently making its way through courts.
Additionally, investigative news website Mediapart published an in-depth report in April in which 13 women accused the actor of sexually inappropriate behavior, while radio station France Inter reported two fresh accusations over the summer.
Depardieu denied the accusations in an open letter published on the Le Figaro newspaper website on Sunday night and headlined “I want to finally tell you the truth”.
He addressed the rape accusation levelled at him by Arnould, without giving her name, suggesting she had consensually come to his room.
The actress, whose parents were old acquaintances of Depardieu, first approached the actor in the hope of working with him on a show paying tribute to French singer Barbara.
“Today, I can no longer sing Barbara because a woman who wanted to sing Barbara with me accused me of rape. I finally want to tell you my truth. I have never, ever abused a woman,” he wrote.
“Hurting a woman would be like kicking my own mother in the stomach,” he continued. “A woman came to my house for the first time, with a light step, going up to my room of her own free will. She says today that she was raped there. She came back a second time.”
“There has never been any coercion, violence or protest between us. She wanted to sing Barbara’s songs at the Cirque d’Hiver with me. I told her no… She filed a complaint.”
Depardieu also addressed the accusations of sexually impropriate behavior on set.
“I’ve often done that which others wouldn’t dare to do: pushed limits, shaken certitudes, habits on the set between two takes, between two tensions… to get a laugh,” he said.
“Not everyone laughed. If, in believing to live the present intensely, I hurt, shocked someone, whoever it was, it was never my intention to hurt, and I beg you to excuse me for behaving like a child who wanted to have fun in a gallery,” he wrote.
Arnould’s lawyer Carine Durrieu-Diebolt said she “shocked and scandalized” by the letter in an interview with French radio station France Info on Monday morning.
“Mr. Depardieu says he is exposing his truth, but it is certainly not Charlotte’s truth and it will certainly not be the one that will be upheld by the courts,” she said.
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