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France's Catherine Deneuve Criticizes #MeToo Movement

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This is what’s trending today…

Activists are denouncing French film star Catherine Deneuve and other women for an open letter they published this week in the newspaper Le Monde.

The letter sharply criticized the #metoo campaign. The movement began in October with accusations of sexual wrongdoing against American movie producer Harvey Weinstein. The accusations led to his dismissal from the company he founded.

In the months since, more people have come forward with abuse accusations against men in powerful positions across many industries.

Deneuve and more than 100 other French women signed the letter. It said the movement had become a public trial, in which the accused were not given a chance to defend themselves. And it said the movement is powered by a “hatred of men.”

The women also argue in the letter that the movement represses sexual freedom and serves those who see women as “separate beings, children with the appearance of adults, demanding to be protected.”

The letter begins with the statement that rape is a crime. But the letter also argues that it is not a crime “to touch a woman’s knee, try to steal a kiss, talk about intimate things during a work meal, or send sexually charged messages to women who did not return their interest.”

Social media responses to the letter have been mixed.

Actor Asia Argento, who has accused Weinstein of rape, was dismissive on Twitter. She wrote: “Catherine Deneuve and other French women tell the world how their interiorized misogyny has lobotomized them to the point of no return.”

But in answer to Argento, Twitter user Claire Fox wrote: 'Bravo Denueuve, who speaks for those many women told to shut up by the sisterhood for daring to worry about a witch-hunt atmosphere.'

A “witch hunt” is the act of unfairly punishing people who are accused of having opinions that some consider to be dangerous or evil.

On Wednesday, several French women’s rights activists dismissed the letter. The activists wrote on the website Franceinfotv that Deneuve and the others who signed the letter are making sexual violence appear “normal.”

And that’s what’s trending today.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Caty Weaver adapted this report for Learning English based on Associated Press reports. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Words in This Story

repress - v. to not allow yourself to do or express (something)

intimate - n. ​involving sex or sexual relations​

interiorize - v. ​to make interior; to make a part of one's own inner being.

misogyny - n ​ dislike of, or prejudice against women.

lobotomize - v. ​to undergo an operation in which part of the brain is cut in order to treat some mental disorders​

bravo - interjection. ​used to express approval of a performance​

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