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Deneuve says she meant no offense to sex assault victims

L'actrice Catherine Deneuve, le 13 mai 2015 à Cannes
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT (AFP/Archives)
The actress was among 100 women to sign an open letter defending a man's right to 'bother' women

French film star Catherine Deneuve said she stood by her signing an open letter in Le Monde this week bashing the #MeToo movement but apologized if she had offended victims of sexual assault, in a letter published on the website of daily Liberation on Sunday.

"I warmly greet all the victims of these hideous acts who might have felt offended by that letter which appeared in Le Monde. It is to them and them alone that I offer my apologies," the 74-year-old actress said.

Deneuve also said that there was "nothing in the letter", which had triggered a worldwide feminist backlash, that said "anything good about harassment, otherwise I wouldn't have signed it."

France's most revered actress was among 100 prominent women to sign the open letter defending a man's right to "bother" women, complaining that the campaign against harassment had become "puritanical".

They deplored the wave of "denunciations" that has followed claims that Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted and harassed women over decades..

They branded it a "witch-hunt" that they claim threatens sexual freedom.

"I love freedom," Deneuve wrote in the letter to Liberation. "I don't like this characteristic of our era where everyone feels they have the right... to condemn. An era where simple denunciations on social networks cause punishment, resignation, and... often media lynching," she wrote.

She also protested not being considered a feminist. She recalled that she had been among the women who had signed a manifesto for abortion rights written by French feminist icon Simon de Beauvoir.

As an actress since she was 17, Deneuve admitted that during her career she had been "a witness to indelicate situations" between men and women.

"The solution will come in the upbringing of our boys and girls," she said, adding that businesses must also set guidelines so that "if there is harassment, legal action will be immediately taken."

"I believe in justice," she said.

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