Actress Catherine Deneuve and some 100 other French women have criticized the #MeToo and #ExposeYourPig movements in the name of men’s “freedom to pester” which they claim is essential to “sexual freedom” — a stance that has sparked debate.
“Rape is a crime. But insistent or clumsy flirting is not an offense, nor is gallantry a macho attack.” On Tuesday, January 9, French newspaper Le Monde published an op-ed piece signed by actress Catherine Deneuve and some 100 other French women from the worlds of academia, publishing, and media, defending men’s “freedom to pester” in the name of their concept of feminism. Translated and analyzed by the New York Times, this open letter was a response to the #MeToo and #BalanceTonPorc (#ExposeYourPig) movements that have seen a vast number of men publicly accused of inappropriate behavior. The women who signed the letter see the trend as driven by “puritanism” and a “hatred of men.”
While the Golden Globes were a chance for Hollywood to show support to the victims of sexual harassment and assault, these French women instead joined the group of American figures who are also concerned about the wave of denunciations. “The letter reflects France’s mixed feelings about the widespread accusations of systematic sexual misconduct by powerful men in multiple countries in recent months,” noted the Washington Post.
The letter has drawn strong criticism from activists, including American actress Asia Argento, who accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.