Gérard Depardieu Ordered to Stand Trial in Sexual Assault Case

Gérard Depardieu Ordered to Stand Trial in Sexual Assault Case

By Oghale Apr29,2024

Gérard Depardieu was ordered on Monday to stand trial on criminal charges that he sexually assaulted two women during a 2021 film shoot in France, deepening the French actor’s legal woes and further tarnishing his global reputation as he faces a growing number of accusations of sexual violence.

The Paris prosecutor’s office announced that Mr. Depardieu, 75, would be tried in October over allegations that he sexually assaulted the two women on the set of “Les Volets Verts,” or “The Green Shutters,” a movie by the French director Jean Becker that was released in 2022.

The prosecutor’s office did not identify the two women or provide any details about the alleged assaults. Lawyers for Mr. Depardieu did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday evening, but the actor has repeatedly denied any sexual misconduct in the past.

The order to stand trial was a serious development for Mr. Depardieu — one of the most prominent men in France to face accusations of sexual wrongdoing, especially since a new wave of allegations swept through the French movie industry in recent months.

Mr. Depardieu has been accused by over a dozen women of groping, harassment, or sexual assault over past years, but he has not stood trial in any of the cases.

An internationally recognized leading man who has played in more than 250 movies, he has become a #MeToo flashpoint in French society.

Some, including President Emmanuel Macron, have defended Mr. Depardieu, condemning what they say is an unfair witch hunt against a celebrated actor who is presumed innocent.

Others have welcomed the fact that Mr. Depardieu’s behavior on movie sets is finally being acknowledged by the French movie industry as it faces a long-overdue internal reckoning with sexism and sexual violence in its midst.

The two women who have accused Mr. Depardieu of sexual assault on the set of “The Green Shutters” spoke anonymously this year with Mediapart, an investigative news website.

One woman, a 53-year-old set decorator, said that Mr. Depardieu had used extremely crude language and had brutally molested her on set during a shoot in Paris in September 2021; the other, a 33-year-old assistant director, said he had groped her several times, also during filming in the French capital, Mediapart reported in February.

The movie production team made Mr. Depardieu apologize to the two women, according to Mediapart, which said it had corroborated their account with over a dozen people who had worked on the movie.

Paris prosecutors announced the order to stand trial on Monday evening, after Mr. Depardieu spent several hours being questioned by the police in the French capital. He cannot appeal the order, the prosecutor’s office said, although the hearing could be pushed to a later date.

Mr. Depardieu had already been charged with rape and sexual assault in 2020 in a separate case involving Charlotte Arnould, a French actress who says he sexually assaulted her in Paris in 2018, when she was 22. That investigation was finalized this month, the prosecutor’s office said, but it is not yet clear whether Mr. Depardieu will stand trial on those accusations as well.

Another sexual assault lawsuit filed against him by a different French actress was dropped in January because it was past the statute of limitations.

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By Oghale

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