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Catherine Deneuve Joins Nearly 100 French Actresses and More to Condemn ‘Witch Hunt’ Against Men Over Sexual Harassment

"Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or cack-handedly, is not," the letter reads.

Catherine Deneuve poses for photographers upon arrival at the screening of the film The Killing Of A Sacred Deer at the 70th international film festival, Cannes, southern France2017 The Killing Of A Sacred Deer Red Carpet, Cannes, France - 22 May 2017

Catherine Deneuve

Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

An open letter has been published in the French newspaper Le Monde (via The Guardian) in which nearly 100 actresses, writers, and academics slam the number of “denunciations” that have occurred in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and abuse allegations. The women say the accusations against Weinstein have resulted in a “witch hunt” against men that is threatening sexual freedom.

“Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or cack-handedly, is not – nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack,” the letter reads. “Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss.”

The letter has been signed by women such as actress Catherine Deneuve and bestselling author Catherine Millet. The women criticize the #MeToo anti-harassment movement and its French equivalent #BalanceTonPorc for forcing a “wave of purification.”

“What began as freeing women up to speak has today turned into the opposite – we intimidate people into speaking ‘correctly’, shout down those who don’t fall into line, and those women who refused to bend [to the new realities] are regarded as complicit and traitors,” the letter reads. “Instead of helping women this frenzy to send these (male chauvinist) ‘pigs’ to the abattoir actually helps the enemies of sexual liberty – religious extremists and the worst sort of reactionaries.”

Read more from the letter over at The Guardian.

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