Catherine Deneuve signs open letter that claims ‘witch-hunt’ in wake of Harvey Weinstein scandal poses threat to sexual freedom

The revered French actor Catherine Deneuve has hit out at a new “puritanism” sparked by sexual harassment scandals, declaring that men should be “free to hit on” women.

Deneuve was one of about 100 female French writers, performers and academics who wrote an open letter deploring the wave of “denunciations” that has followed claims that the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein raped and sexually assaulted women over decades.

They claimed the “witch-hunt” that followed 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 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,” said the letter, which was also signed by Catherine Millet, author of the explicit 2002 bestseller The Sexual Life of Catherine M.


Full disclosure… I have had a lifelong crush on Catherine Deneuve, she can do no wrong ever.

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  • Drunk by Noon ✓

    She is right, but only to a point.
    If you are a white male, flirting or showing interest in a woman that does not like you is tantamount to a criminal act.
    That is wrong.
    Then again the unchecked antics of the Harvey Weinstein’s of the world that are given endless forbearances, simply because they hold the right political opinion, is just as wrong.

  • Martin B

    Great sentiment, but the link is missing.

    • Drunk by Noon ✓

      You have a picture of Catherine Deneuve, who needs a link? 😉
      Can we get an official ruling on the correct pronunciation of her last name?

    • Link was fixed, sorry, I was mesmerized by Deneuve.

  • Sharkibark

    Many many moons ago, when I was in my 20’s, I was a reasonably attractive young woman. I received some attention, some wanted and some unwanted but unwanted attention wasn’t “rape” or “assault” or even “harassment.” It was a matter of letting the man know it was unwanted in a firm manner. If they did not desist with a stare, a look, words or very rarely a slap, there was a bouncer or a friend or partner that would reinforce the message to make sure there wasn’t further misunderstanding.

    • Solo712

      Good for you, just what I taught my daughter. It’s a very rare form of male creep, who does not want to accept that he is not wanted and there are ways to make him see the error of his ways short of making a world-wide political scandal out of it.

    • Blacksmith

      Which is as it should be.

    • jayme

      That was what I used to think too (ask and if they say “no”, leave her alone). But then a female friend of mine related how she had been working in an office next to a window and there were construction workers outside everyday, doing something on the roof right outside her window, One day as she was working at her desk, one of them came to the window with a sign “You have a wonderful smile”. I think she gave an uncomfortable smile and tried to ignore it but the next day it was “Let’s go for coffee”, to which she said “no”. But she was uncomfortable the rest of the time that the workers were there and was forced to close the blinds.

      Or suppose that a colleague at work flirts with another. Again, if she rejects his advances everything between them is unsettled and uncomfortable and the working relationship cannot be repaired. So now I believe that flirtation should be strictly in a “social” environment (parties, bars, etc.). Otherwise, leave the women alone (as they are in a vulnerable position if by nothing else than their physical weakness in relation to men.

      • Watchman

        Of course she might have a differing attitude if she worked on Wall St, and a group of young handsome men in suits standing outside a brokers office wolf whistled at her. This is why it is so hard to make solid repeatable rules that cover sexual harassment. In general women get upset if they are approached by men who they believe are ‘beneath’ them, partly because many women see this as the men believing that they are roughly equivalent in looks and social standing as the women they approach.

        Would Fifty Shades of Grey be as popular if Christian Grey was an obese man who looked like Danny DeVito and worked as a janitor, whose sole transport vehicle was a salvaged bicycle and lived in his mother’s basement?

    • disqusW6sf

      Exactly.

  • Solo712

    Absolutely, Catherine! If the Hollywood guys had any balls they would have called the anti-male craze in Hollywood for what it is themselves: in one voice.
    We all know that this is not about real creepy stuff. It’s not about rape, assaults or sexual blackmail. It’s simply about criminalizing healthy male sexuality by conflating it with gross indecency.

  • Hard Little Machine

    Again though, do we really care. At the end of the day it’s a place of work and they are entertainers. Let them kill one another to the last one standing. What’s the worst that happens? 12 more Fast and Furious movies?

  • JoKeR

    I am still waiting for the accusations that Steven Spielberg covered up all the assaults committed on set by E.T..

  • Yo Mama

    Da Hollywud definishun of sexual assault: a woman who gave what was demanded and in return didn’t get the part in the movie she wanted, or didnt keep on getting the parts she demanded!

  • Blind Druid

    How refreshing — a woman who enjoys being a woman. End of.

  • Tooth&Claw

    You don’t ask you don’t get. It’s the who, what, when,where and how to ask that female someone, that needs finesse.

  • I loved her when she was young. I once spoke to her at Geneva airport, and told her of my attraction! Unfortunately, like most everyone else, she has lost her good looks with age.

    That said, there is truth in what she says, to be kept in mind. Though I approve of the witch-hunt against rapists etc. in Hollywood and the Media and the political world, there should be some room left for gauche (no pun intended) romance.

    One thing about French women, in my experience. They basically like men – unlike American women, who basically don’t.