French Women Slam #MeToo 'Witch Hunt'

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"However, some users shared the French actress opinion: "#CatherineDeneuve: "from one woman to another, THANK you for saying that", a user wrote.

"This vigilante (online) justice has punished men in their jobs, forced some to resign, when all they did was touch a knee, try to steal a kiss, talk about "intimate" matters in a work diner", they wrote.

It claimed that "legitimate and necessary protest against the sexual violence that women are subject to, particularly in their professional lives", had turned into a witch-hunt. They denounced what they saw as "Puritanism" and complained that women were being treated as powerless "perpetual victims", reports the BBC.

Other than Oscar nominee Deneuve, the signatories included German actress Ingrid Caven, book publisher Joelle Losfeld, journalist Elisabeth Levu and former porn star-turned-radio host Brigitte Lahaie.

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Deneuve, 74, is best known internationally for playing a bored housewife who spends her afternoons as a prostitute in Luis Bunuel classic 1967 film Belle du Jour.

Catherine Deneuve is among 100 women who signed an editorial Tuesday in Le Monde, criticizing the current #MeToo movement for restricting sexual freedom. "After "Calling out your pig" what are we going to have, 'Call out your whore?'" she said.

"Rape is a crime, but insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a macho aggression", the editorial began.

The letter singles out feminist campaigns such as #MeToo, which encourage women to take a stand and speak out against sexual abuse and harassment. "But we are also clear-eyed enough not to confuse an awkward attempt to pick someone up with a sexual attack". They argued that forcing men to "rack their brains" and apologize for alleged misconduct from decades ago "recalled totalitarian societies".

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While the letter has made waves in France and around the world, it has ruffled many feathers, with people viewing it as women attacking women while condoning male sexist behaviour.

Last year Deneuve sparked outrage by defending another Hollywood director, Roman Polanski, who is still wanted by the U.S. for raping a 13-year-old girl forty years ago.

Read the reaction to her latest comments below.

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