Gérard Depardieu’s obscene remarks shown in new documentary

Gérard Depardieu waving as he arrives at Brussels Town Hall for a film festival ceremony in 2018
Image caption,Gérard Depardieu has made more than 200 films and is France’s best-known actor

By Hugh Schofield

BBC News, Paris

France’s best-known actor Gérard Depardieu is under new pressure following a TV documentary showing him making obscene remarks about women.

The programme, broadcast on Thursday, portrays the 74-year-old star as sex-obsessed while on a shoot in North Korea in 2018.

In footage apparently taken of the documentary’s “making of”, the actor repeatedly embarrasses his female interpreter with comments such as: “I weigh 124 kilos. Without an erection. With an erection, I’m 126 kilos.”

On another occasion he says in front of her: “I have a girder in my underpants.”

He is also seen at a riding stable making sexual comments about why he claims women enjoy going on horseback.

The programme – part of the Complément d’Enquête (Further Investigation) series on France 2 – uses the material to back up allegations of Depardieu’s sexual misconduct made recently by a number of women in the film industry.

Depardieu was placed under judicial investigation on suspicion of rape and sexual assault in 2020, after a complaint made by actress Charlotte Arnould.

He denies the allegation, saying their sexual contact was consensual. Police initially dropped the charge because of a lack of evidence of rape. But on appeal it was re-opened, with Arnould alleging she was under his emotional “control”.

A second case was opened three months ago, when actress Hélène Darras accused Depardieu of groping her in 2007 while on a shoot for the film Disco. The prosecutor’s office said the case may be dropped because the events were too long ago.

In Thursday’s television documentary, other women spoke of a sexualized ambience whenever Depardieu was on set, and of being the target of his innuendo.

They said that a kind of silence prevailed because of his status, which meant he was never checked.

Born in Châteauroux in central France in 1948, Depardieu had a troubled childhood before coming to Paris and being discovered as an actor in the early 1970s.

He has made more than 200 films, and been seen by more French cinema-goers than any other actor apart from Louis de Funès.

The France 2 documentary also investigated the allegation – originally made by Depardieu himself – that as a boy as young as nine he had taken part in “rapes” in Châteauroux.

The claim was first made by the actor in an interview in 1978, then repeated to Time magazine in 1991 when Depardieu was in the running for an Oscar for his film Cyrano de Bergerac.

It was reported in France at the time that the Time profile helped tip the Oscars jury against him.

Two childhood friends of Depardieu confirmed that he was regarded in the 1950s as a légèr voyou (minor hooligan), and that non-consensual sex at the time was common.

But Depardieu’s brother Alain said: “He told so many stories. He built up a legend – or maybe we did it for him – which made him out to be a much greater delinquent than he actually was.”

Feminists have had Depardieu in their sights for several years, since the MeToo movement began to gather momentum.

In April, 13 women – some anonymous – were quoted in an online investigation by Médiapart accusing him of inappropriate behaviour. Activists forced him to cancel public appearances.

In October Depardieu reacted with an open letter to Le Figaro newspaper.

“All my life I have been provocative, over-the-top, at times crude,” he said. “I have often done what others did not dare to do: test limits, shake up accepted wisdom … But I am not a rapist or a predator.”

After viewing the documentary, https://belajarlahlagi.com Depardieu’s former agent Jean-Louis Livi said that: “You can’t watch these interviews without feeling a deep malaise and an empathy with the people who speak… But what has been shown is only one side of the case. It is a media show trial.”

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