Gerard Depardieu

Source: El Gouna Film Festival

Gerard Depardieu

French actor Gerard Depardieu has been accused of sexual misconduct by 13 women in an extensive report from Paris-based investigative news website Mediapart.

Depardieu has denied any wrongdoing through his legal team and has not been formally charged following the accusations.

Mediapart reported the accusations of actresses, make-up artists and production staff, many of whom preferred to remain anonymous. Their accusations detail inappropriate behaviour that allegedly occurred during the shooting of 11 films released between 2004 and 2022.

The women all describe a pattern of sexually inappropriate behaviour including unwelcome touching or groping.

The report also said many other crew members allegedly turned a blind eye to the behaviour, either ignoring it or laughing it off as typical of Depardieu, saying “Oh, it’s okay, it’s just Gérard.”

The women’s allegations span the duration of several high-profile projects including Netflix series Marseille, period biopics L’Autre Dumas and La Vie En Rose and French comedy Disco. Mediapart said it contacted 20 producers and directors who worked on the films in question, but only 11 responded, including producer Alain Goldman and director Olivier Dahan of La Vie En Rose, Marseille producer Pascal Breton and L’Autre Dumas director Safy Nebbou. Most said they were unaware of any of the alleged behaviour.

Fabien Onteniente, director of 2008’s Disco and 2013’s Turf, said he was made aware of the behaviour by his casting director. He told Mediapart: “I concluded that he had a wandering hand, given how he behaved when he was waiting in between shots”.

Onteniente says he confronted Depardieu on the set of Turf after two extras complained about inappropriate touching and told him “Don’t start that again – it’s over! Behave!” and that “it stopped completely. He was all sheepish, like a child who had just misbehaved.”

When contacted by Mediapart, the website said Depardieu declined to meet with journalists or respond to their questions. His law firm, the Cabinet Temime, said the 74-year-old actor “formally denies all the accusations.”

Known for his long career as one of France’s most famous actors, Depardieu has come under fire in recent years, particularly following #MeToo-incited charges of rape against him from actress Charlotte Arnould. Depardieu has not managed to get the December 2020 charges overturned and the case is still in the process of moving through the French judicial system.

Mediapart has also made headlines this week after its editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel accused filmmaker Maiwenn of allegedly attacking him in a Parisian restaurant in February. Plenel claimed Maiwenn attacked him physically without any prompting nor words or explanation, pulling his hair and spitting in his face before storming out of the restaurant. Maiwenn has not responded publicly to the accusations and the film, the director’s sixth feature behind the camera, Jeanne Du Barry, starring Johnny Depp, is slated to world premiere on the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival. The charges were filed in March, long ahead of the Cannes announcement and the festival did not wish to comment on incident. 

Amid the drama unfolding behind the scenes of France’s film industry, the Cannes Film Festival will unveil its 2023 official selection tomorrow (April 13) in Paris.