After Donna Karan and Lindsey Lohan, now grande dame of French cinema, actress Catherine Deneuve has sparked fury amongst #Metoo feminists.
In a statement that was interpreted as defending the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Deneuve said that men should be “free to hit on” women, reports The Guardian.
Deneuve has joined 100 female writers, artists and academics who together wrote an open letter in French newspaper Le Monde condemning the “witch-hunt” that has been unleashed after the Weinstein string of rape scandals, claiming that it threatens sexual freedom.
“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. Instead of helping women this frenzy to send these ‘pigs’ to the abattoir actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty – religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries,” read the letter, denouncing the feminist social media #metoo campaign.
The letter also criticized #metoo campaigners for immediately branding men sex offenders, without giving them the opportunity to respond or defend themselves, according to RT.
Moreover, the practice of forcing others to make a public confession and apologize for inappropriate behavior that happened decades ago is a practice of a “totalitarian society,” the letter said.
In a healthy society, men should have the “indispensable freedom to offend and bother” women, it concluded.
There was an immediate social media storm following the publication of the letter, with many accusing the 74-year-old Oscar-nominated actress of normalizing sexual harassment at work.
Harvey Weinstein victim Asia Argento was among the first ones to protest:
“Catherine Deneuve and other French women tell the world how their internalized misogyny has lobotomized them to the point of no return.”
Others tweeted that they feel “appalled” by Deneuve’s views.
Some men chimed in in an attempt to defend the French actress, without causing too much feminist rage:
“So women have to be the ones to instigate any kind of sexual advance? Or is nobody allowed to? Where will future babies come from???? #CatherineDeneuve” wrote one Twitter user.
Whether you agree or disagree with her views, you have to admit that the moment #metoo became a movement that turned women against women, using public shaming and Internet trolling to spread anger and fear, its core message was already compromised.
Was that secretly the intention of some individuals? I can’t help but wonder.