Luc Besson has been accused of rape by a young actress who has worked with the French filmmaker twice. The news, first reported by Europe 1 and since confirmed by Variety, comes at the height of the #MeToo movement and just moments after Asia Argento took the stage at Cannes to say that within the film community “there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women for behavior that does not belong in this industry.”
The actress, who has asked not to be identified, describes the alleged incident as a “violent sexual assault” that took place on Thursday, May 10 after a meeting with Besson at the Bristol Hotel in Paris. Via his attorney, Besson has “categorically denied all the accusations made against him.”
#MeToo and Time’s Up have not been greeted as warmly in France as they have in America, with more than 100 French actresses signing an open letter condemning the “witch hunt” against men accused of sexual assult and respected auteur Catherine Breillat referring to Argento as a “traitor.” The country also has strict libel laws.
Besson is best known for directing such films as “Léon: The Professional,” “The Fifth Element,” and “La Femme Nikita”; his most recent movies are “Lucy” and “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”