French actor Gerard Depardieu questioned over alleged sexual assaults

By Thomson Reuters Apr 29, 2024 | 7:15 AM

PARIS (Reuters) – French screen legend Gerard Depardieu was detained for questioning on Monday in connection with alleged sexual assaults against two women on separate film sets, police sources said.

Depardieu, one of France’s top movie stars, has been at the centre of a growing number of sexual assault allegations in recent years that have tarnished his legacy and exposed broader divisions about sexual conduct in France.

Lawyers for Depardieu, who has consistently denied wrongdoing, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two senior police sources told Reuters Depardieu was being held at a police station in Paris’ 14th arrondissement, where he is being questioned by judicial police.

Investigators are probing alleged groping by Depardieu on two film sets, with one alleged case in 2014 and the other in 2021, one of the sources said.

Paris police and the public prosecutor’s office both declined to comment.

Depardieu’s case has become a dividing line in French society, with some women viewing him as a symbol of the country’s inability to tackle sexual abuse by powerful men in the wake of the #Metoo movement.

Others, including French President Emmanuel Macron and several well-known actors, have rallied to his defence.

“He’s an immense actor, a genius of his art,” Macron said late last year. “He makes France proud.”

(Reporting by Paris newsroom; Additional reporting by Tassilo Hummel and Juliette Jabkhiro; Writing by Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Nick Macfie)