PARIS — Actress Catherine Deneuve has apologized to victims of sexual assault who were offended by a column she signed denouncing "puritanism" following the Harvey Weinstein scandal — but maintained her reservations about the #MeToo campaign.
Deneuve and 99 other French women signed a column in Le Monde last week saying the campaign, which saw millions of women take to social media to share sexual harassment stories, had gone too far and was fueled by a "hatred of men."
In a letter in Liberation newspaper Monday, Deneuve stood by the statement that sparked an international outcry.
"I'm a free woman and always will be," the 74-year-old said. "I send my sisterly regards to all the victims of abject acts who would have felt attacked by this column in Le Monde, and it is to them, and them only, that I offer my apologies."
She said she did not like the "media lynching" and "climate of censorship" she said was unleashed by the #MeToo campaign, known in France as #balancetonporc or "rat out your abuser."
"An actor can be digitally removed from a movie, the director of a great New York institution can be forced to resign for groping somebody's buttocks 30 years ago with no other form of trial," she said. "I don't like this pack mentality, all too common these days," she added.
However, she distanced herself from comments made by other signatories to the Le Monde column, indirectly referring to former radio presenter Brigitte Lahaie who, during a debate on French TV, said women could "orgasm during a rape."
"Saying on a TV channel that you can orgasm during a rape is worse than spitting in the face of all those who suffered from this crime," Deneuve said.