“Rape culture” , “indecency” , “contempt for victims” … The feminist activists did not have words strong enough, Thursday December 21, to condemn the defense of Gérard Depardieu by Emmanuel Macron, the day before.
The Head of State spoke on the set of France 5, during a special program of “C à vous” , largely devoted to the political crisis caused by the vote on the law on immigration. Asked about the opportunity to withdraw his Legion of Honor from the actor after the broadcast of a damning report from the television investigative magazine “Complément d’investigation”, he vigorously defended a “huge actor” before insisting on the respect for his presumption of innocence. Accused of sexual assault by numerous women, Gérard Depardieu is indicted for rape following a complaint from actress Charlotte Arnould – facts which he refutes.
“I say it as President of the Republic, but also as a citizen, he makes France proud,” said Emmanuel Macron. Before adding, a few moments later: “There is one thing you will never see me in, and that is manhunts. I hate that,” while also emphasizing his commitment to the fight against violence against women and for gender equality, the two “great causes” of his five-year term. “Maybe there are victims, and I respect them, oh so much! And I want them to be able to defend their rights,” assured the Head of State.
“A president can’t say that!” »
The short sequence has once again widened the gap with the groups engaged in the defense of women’s rights, who continue to denounce, in particular, the very low rate of legal convictions for rape (one woman in ten files a complaint, 74% of complaints are closed without further action). “Between us and the Head of State, it is no longer a gap, it is a gaping hole,” declared Maëlle Noir, from the national coordination of the Nous tous collective , to Agence France-Presse. “No, a president can’t say that!” » , also reacted on X Anne-Cécile Mailfert, the president of the Women’s Foundation. “Nothing is wrong with the words of the Prsdt [president] regarding #Depardieu. I won’t have enough of a tweet to explain how outrageous this is, how despicable it is for the victims and how anachronistic it is. But this is nothing new as far as he is concerned. Did he not always defend the powerful? “, she also indicated.
Indeed, this is not the first time that Emmanuel Macron’s position on the freedom of speech of victims of sexual violence and his systematic defense of the presumption of innocence has caused a reaction in feminist circles. In December 2021, in the midst of the Nicolas Hulot affair – the former minister of ecological transition was accused of sexual assault and rape – the president warned, during a council of ministers, against a “society of inquisition”, triggering the ire of the victims.
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