Gerard Depardieu ‘accused of harassing, groping or sexually assaulting 13 women’

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French actor Gerard Depardieu has been accused of harassing, groping or sexually assaulting 13 young women, mainly extras, according to an investigative news website.

Most of the claims reported by the Mediapart website relate to film shoots between 2004 and 2022.

None of the women has filed a complaint. Depardieu has denied any criminal behaviour.

The 74-year-old – one of France’s most well-known stars – was placed under investigation in December 2020 for rape and sexual assault, reportedly at his Paris home, after claims by an actress in 2018. The investigation is continuing.

Mediapart, which is regarded as a reliable website, published the accusations in an article on Tuesday.

The incidents allegedly took place in public places, mainly on film sets.

The wardrobe assistant for Big House, Isabel Butel, told Mediapart of her shock at the reaction on set. “It was kind of, ‘Oh that’s Gerard, he’s a bit mischievous!’” she was quoted as saying.

Another extra, identified as Helene Darras, then 26, went to the police last year, 14 years after Depardieu allegedly kept grabbing her buttocks during filming of the 2008 comedy Disco.

She said she stayed silent at the time as she did not want to “make an enemy of casting directors”. She eventually gave her account to police because “the film world is full of Gerards and we have to speak up”, she said.

Actresses, location assistants and others said they complained about Depardieu’s vulgar remarks, groans and straying hands but drew only silence, or laughs, from others.

“People are afraid,” Mediapart quoted one casting director as saying. She said her colleagues and friends unanimously reacted to her decision to talk to Mediapart by saying: “Are you crazy?”

Lawyers for Depardieu, from the law firm Temime, “formally deny all allegations that (could) concern criminal law”, Mediapart wrote, and called the allegations a “veritable indictment” to which the actor has no intention of responding.

Depardieu, who has appeared in 200 films over six decades, is one of only a few French actors who have made a name for themselves in Hollywood. He won a Golden Globe for his performance in Green Card, a 1990 English-language romantic comedy co-starring Andie MacDowell.

His first big hit in France was Les Valseuses – Bertrand Blier’s classic farce about two wandering thugs.

Before crossing the Atlantic to star in Green Card, Depardieu played an array of roles, ranging from Jean Valjean, the thief-turned-saint in Les Miserables, to Christopher Columbus.

In 2014, he played the leading role in Welcome To New York, inspired by the life of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former director of the International Monetary Fund who was accused in 2011 of sexually assaulting a hotel maid. The charges against Mr Strauss-Kahn were later dropped.

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