The former chief of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn has, according to a report by The Guardian, instructed his lawyers to file a defamation suit after Abel Ferrara’s “Welcome to New York” was released on-demand in France on Saturday. The films stars Gérard Depardieu as a sex-addict who appears to handle large amounts of money and has the world’s economies in his hands yet chooses to lounge with strippers and frequent night clubs.
It is widely noted that this is not a very subtle allusion to Strauss-Kahn, who resigned from his post at the IMF as allegations rose that he sexually assaulted a maid in his hotel room. Criminal charges were dropped and Strauss-Kahn settled in a civil suit. He is suing for defamation in the form of “accusations of rape, on the insinuations made throughout this film,” according to his lawyer Jean Veil.
The film has received some positive reviews in its limited press screenings at the Cannes Film Festival with Depardieu’s performance earning most of the accolades. Our own critic called it “bonkers.” the special screening outside of the main selection, critics were reportedly given gift bags containing condoms and Viagra. Director Ferrara said of the controversy: “I’m not on trial. I’m an artist. I have freedom of speech. I’m from America, I’m from the country of the free, land of the free and home of the brave.”