Catherine Deneuve leads group of 100 women denouncing #MeToo campaign for ‘puritanism’
from the ABC and Cairns News
Actress Catherine Deneuve and 99 other French women have denounced a backlash against men following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, saying the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment amounts to “puritanism” and is fuelled by a “hatred of men”.
In the aftermath of accusations against the US movie producer, millions of women took to social media to share their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted, using the #MeToo hastag worldwide or #SquealOnYourPig (#balancetonporc).
“This urge to send men to the slaughterhouse, instead of helping women be more autonomous, helps the enemies of sexual freedom,” the 100 women, including 74-year old Deneuve, one of France’s most famous screen stars, said in a column published by Le Monde daily.
The man’s right to “pester” a woman was an essential part of sexual freedom, they said, describing the campaign as “puritanism”.
Marlene Schiappa, the French minister tasked with cracking down on violence against women, said the Weinstein scandal forced a rethink of attitudes towards sexual harassment in France, a country that cherishes its self-image as the land of seduction and romance.
Ms Schiappa kicked off nationwide consultations on a law that is due to include steps to fight sexual harassment on the streets as well as extend the statute of limitation for rape of minors.
In late October, protesters in Paris disrupted the opening of a retrospective of Roman Polanski’s work following new rape allegations against the French-Polish film director.
But for Deneuve and the other signatories of the letter, including writers and journalists, this went too far.
“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 dinner,” they wrote.
“We defend a right to pester, which is vital to sexual freedom.”
Sydney commentator Stewie Jones-Cartwright said the campaign against men had gone on for too long, leaving a trail littered with wrecked lives and broken families over often false accusations by women.
“The Family Court is known among men’s groups as a forum to legally denounce mostly innocent husbands or defactos as child abusers, rapists or worse,” he said.
“The Craig McLachlan case is one of the worst media circuses I have seen in decades similar to the Rolf Harris acquittal on appeal in the UK on some charges which were false allegations of sexual abuse.
“The men-hating lesbians in the media should be sacked and prosecuted for their long campaign against often innocent men.”