Macron Faces Backlash For Defending Rape-Accused Celebrity

( – French President Emmanuel Macron made waves in late December after defending embattled French actor Gérard Depardieu who is facing a new crop of accusations that he routinely harassed and assaulted women.

In a television interview on December 19, the French president said Depardieu made France “proud” and insisted on due process for the accused actor.

According to a report from the New York Times, Depardieu has been dogged by allegations for years but faced renewed scrutiny after French television aired a documentary that featured the prominent actor making sexist and crude comments while in North Korea in 2018.

Following the documentary broadcast, the actor fell further out of favor in France, with the Paris museum Musée Grévin removing Depardieu’s wax likeness, and groups stripping him of honors.

French Cultural Minister Rima Abdul Malak criticized the actor’s comments in the documentary and announced disciplinary proceedings that would strip Depardieu of France’s highest award, the Legion of Honor. Depardieu was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1996.

However, in his December 19 interview on France 5 television, President Macron said he was an “admirer” of Depardieu and would not join the “manhunt” against him.

As French President, Macron is the grand master of the order of the Legion of Honor. He told France 5 that Minister Malak overstepped too much by suggesting that Depardieu be stripped of the award and said he wouldn’t begin stripping awards “from artists or officials when they say things that shock me.”

Macron said while Depardieu has been accused and the victims should be able “to defend their rights,” there is still a presumption of innocence.

Depardieu has denied any wrongdoing.

Though Macron’s comments are several weeks old, Politico EU reported on Wednesday that the blowback in the media over the French President’s defense of Depardieu shows no signs of slowing.

Some French news outlets questioned why the French president, known to hold liberal positions, would side with the so-called “far right” in France by supporting the controversial actor.

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