S ince 2017 and the revelations about the predatory film producer Harvey Weinstein, the wave which freed the voices of women victims of sexist and sexual violence has also changed the way in which societies, in France as elsewhere, consider these actions and their perpetrators. , whether anonymous or famous. Artists, because their lives are scrutinized by the entire public, because their behavior is considered emblematic, have fueled debates, often scandals, sometimes progress.
This is why the broadcast, on December 7 by France 2, of images of Gérard Depardieu filmed five years earlier, where the actor multiplies demeaning remarks about women as well as a little girl, produced an emotion in the country considerable, even before the President of the Republic took charge of it. For years now, the abyss has continued to widen between the brilliant actor, French figure, international star, and the man indicted in 2020 for rape and sexual assault, and targeted by multiple accusations about his behavior during filming.
Emmanuel Macron, by estimating that the actor “makes France proud” , on December 20, on France 5, nevertheless transformed the Depardieu affair into a weapon of political combat and committed a serious mistake. How can the President of the Republic who claims to have made violence against women and equality between women and men “the two great causes of his two five-year terms” , without a word for those who call themselves victims of the actor, associate these detestable and unworthy behaviors with the country he embodies as head of state?
The presumption of innocence, which Mr. Macron invoked, is obviously a principle to be defended. And the fact that Gérard Depardieu “served the most beautiful texts” is not in dispute. But proclaiming pride for a man who regularly displays his contempt for France and his admiration for Vladimir Putin, boasts of his tax exile and says he is “still Russian” despite the war against Ukraine is aberrant.
We know the president’s taste for the opposite, “disruption” and the great deviations from “at the same time”. A few days after his defense of an immigration law inspired by the extreme right, his praise of Gérard Depardieu appears above all as a new nod to the most reactionary part of public opinion, particularly to the men who consider the words of women as an unbearable challenge to their domination. It thus gives assurances to voters who express in a detestation of “wokism” the fear of seeing their alleged identity, racial or sexual superiority called into question.
In doing so, the President of the Republic allows the extreme right to score new points on the cultural field. By seeming to accredit the thesis, however denied, according to which the damning report on Gérard Depardieu was manipulated, by finding himself trapped by a maneuver aimed at making the defense of the actor a reactionary standard, illustrated by the forum of cinema personalities written by an activist close to the spheres of identity, Mr. Macron moves a little further away, not only from the character open to diversity and societal progress that he claimed to embody, but from his role as a “bulwark” against extreme right, decisive in his two elections. A dark omen as his “meeting with the nation” announced for January 2024 approaches.