Gérard Depardieu— the Famed French actor known for films such as Cyrano de Bergerac and The Man In The Iron Mask—is speaking out against a so-called media “lynching” concerning multiple allegations of rape and sexual misconduct that have been leveled against him in recent years.
“Never, ever have I abused a woman. Hurting a woman would be like kicking the womb of my own mother,” the actor wrote in an open letter published by French outlet Le Figaro (via The Guardian and Variety). “To the media court, to the lynching that has been reserved for me, I have only my word to defend myself.”
Depardieu is currently under formal investigation in France in connection to a rape charge originally filed by actress Charlotte Arnould, whose parents were reportedly old friends of his, in 2018. Arnould, who was 22 at the time, alleges that the then-70-year-old actor raped her twice in his Paris home.
Then, earlier this year, French outlet Médiapart published a lengthy report containing allegations from 13 more women who detailed a pattern of non-consensual touching, sexual comments, and “persistent groaning noises” from the actor on various film sets from 2004 through 2022. According to one actor who worked on a film called The Box in 2015, the actor “put his hand under [her] dress” and “tried to get into [her] knickers.” None of the 13 women named in the report have taken legal action, according to Variety.
While lawyers for Depardieu have denied all of these claims in the past, the actor spoke out on the Arnould trial (without naming the actress) for the first time on Sunday. “A woman came to my home a first time, lightly, and willingly stepped into my bedroom. She says today that she was raped there,” he wrote. “She came a second time. There was no constraint, no violence, no protest.”
“I can’t consent to what I’m hearing, and reading about myself for the past few months,” he continued. “I believed that I didn’t care, but no, in fact no.”