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Johnny Depp’s return to Cannes exposes French split over #MeToo

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Johnny Depp’s return to Cannes exposes French split over #MeToo

When Johnny Depp appeared on the purple carpet on the Cannes film festival this week it was clear France was doing greater than some other nation to rehabilitate the actor after he was dropped by US movie studios throughout two trials over alleged home abuse.

Feminist teams and greater than 100 French actors spoke out to criticise the festival, saying Depp’s star look symbolised a wider downside of the French institution defending males who’ve been accused by girls. “We’re deeply outraged and refuse to stay silent within the face of the poisonous politics espoused by the Cannes movie competition,” actors mentioned in an open-letter printed in Libération.

Depp, who at Cannes dismissed allegations in opposition to him as “summary whispers” and mentioned he “now not wanted Hollywood”, has anchored his cinema comeback firmly in France. His first movie position in three years is a French-speaking half as King Louis XV within the film Jeanne du Barry; and he’s looking for funding in France for his subsequent movie as a director, a function concerning the artist Amedeo Modigliani, set in Paris.

Depp’s fits at Cannes have been offered by the French luxurious model Dior, which has given him a record $20m deal to proceed promoting its males’s perfume, Dior Sauvage, happy that the gross sales of the scent had risen regardless of the 2 trials – one for libel, the opposite for defamation – over alleged violent abuse in opposition to his ex-wife Amber Heard.

In Paris, billboards, metro stations and buses have been plastered with Depp’s face in adverts for Jeanne du Barry, which opened in France this week however doesn’t but have a US launch date.

Depp, who as soon as lived in France and has two kids with the French actor Vanessa Paradis, has mentioned the nation “appears like dwelling”.

In 2020, a British courtroom dominated that the Solar newspaper did not libel Depp by calling him a “spouse beater” as a result of the decide discovered it was “considerably true” and that 12 out of 14 incidents of assault reported by Heard have been proved. Depp then sued Heard for libel within the US final 12 months over a Washington Publish editorial she had written. Virginia jurors ruled in his favour on three counts, awarding him greater than $10m, and in opposition to him on one depend, awarding Heard $2m.

In Good, alongside the coast from Cannes, protesters posted anti-festival indicators on partitions. One learn: “Competition of rapists, misogynists and arseholes.”

Pressure was excessive on the competition. Maïwenn, the director and co-star of Jeanne du Barry, mentioned she forged Depp earlier than the trials started.

Edwy Plenel, the editor-in-chief of the investigative web site Mediapart, described how he had filed a authorized criticism in opposition to Maïwenn after she spat on him earlier this 12 months. He instructed Variety that Maïwenn was “outspokenly anti-#MeToo” and he believed she had focused him due to Mediapart’s investigations into sexual assault allegations within the movie business, together with in opposition to her ex-husband Luc Besson, who denied all allegations in opposition to him. Maïwenn instructed journalists she didn’t remorse the Plenel incident.

Edwy Plenel, pictured in 2016, and Maiwenn, in 2021.
Edwy Plenel, pictured in 2016, and Maiwenn, in 2021. {Photograph}: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Photographs

The French actor Ariane Labed and the Franco-British actor Olivia Ross, who wrote the open letter signed by 123 actors warning in opposition to a French movie business supporting abusers, mentioned they’d spoken out after listening to accounts from different actors of sexual abuse, bullying and racism within the business.

Ross mentioned: “The #MeToo motion has had an impression, issues are slowly shifting, however the Cannes movie competition making these selections is a transparent slap within the face and a transparent assertion of: ‘We’re not all in favour of that change.’ That’s how we understand it and we expect that’s unacceptable.

“France has a popularity as a rustic which prioritises the auteur and seeks to separate the artwork from the artist on a regular basis. That has its place, but it surely shouldn’t be systematic. We wished to say: we’re French and we don’t stand by these selections.”

They mentioned additionally they wished to precise assist for Adèle Haenel, the star of Portrait of a Girl on Fireplace, who lately introduced she would depart the business due to its “basic complacency” in the direction of sexual predators.

Labed mentioned: “We wished to face together with her, to say: we perceive and share her anger and we need to be heard.”

The feminist group Osez Le Féminisme referred to as for a boycott of Cannes, saying France had a historical past of supporting males similar to Roman Polanski. The Polish-born director fled from the US to France in 1978 after admitting to the statutory rape of a 13-year-old lady and has been a fugitive from the US justice system since, regardless of repeated makes an attempt to have him extradited.

The group additionally criticised the French movie business for persevering with to work with Gérard Depardieu. The actor is underneath investigation for an alleged rape in 2018, which he denies, and was more recently accused of sexually inappropriate behaviour by 13 girls, which his attorneys denied.

The group’s spokesperson, Ursula Le Menn, mentioned of Depp’s presence in Cannes: “We’re as soon as once more seeing what has occurred prior to now, specifically with Polanski, that this nation welcomes with open arms, applauds and celebrates males who’re accused of being attackers.”

She mentioned this was rooted in a “misogynist and patriarchal tradition” in France, the place “male artists are placed on a pedestal, and it’s claimed that the artwork justifies every little thing”.

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