French actor Gérard Depardieu has been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by 13 women in an in-depth report published by the French investigative news website Médiapart.
Médiapart said the accusations were linked to eleven films and series between 2004 – 2022. The productions included the comedy Big House, bio-pic Dumas and Netflix crime series Marseille.
Depardieu’s lawyers at Paris-based law firm Cabinet Temime said some of the accounts appeared to be based on “very subjective assessments and/or moral judgments”.
“He formally denies all the charges likely to fall under criminal law,” the cabinet said in a statement issued on Depardieu’s behalf to Médiapart.
Deadline has also contacted Cabinet Temime for further comment.
A number of the directors and producers involved in the productions cited in the report also put out statements denying any knowledge of Depardieu’s actions.
Médiapart said the findings were the fruit of an investigation lasting several months, which had been prompted by long-running rumours and social media reports about Depardieu’s treatment of women.
The 13 accusers are in addition to French actress Charlotte Arnould, who officially brought rape charges against the actor in 2018.
The actress, whose father was an old friend of the actor, accused Depardieu of raping and sexually assaulting her twice in his Paris mansion in the summer of 2018 after she went to him for acting advice.
The case is currently making its way through the French courts after an attempt to get the charges overturned was overruled.
“Besides the complaint from Charlotte Arnould, we have gathered 13 accounts from women who say they were subjected to sexually inappropriate jests or proposals by the famous actor, of differing levels of gravity,” read the Mediaport report.
Aside from giving detailed accounts, some of which were from anonymous accusers, the report also decried a culture within the film and TV industry of turning a blind eye to Depardieu’s actions.
“Across the different accounts, the same scene seemed to repeat itself. They are actresses, make-up artists and crew members,” it continued. “They attest to have been subjected to a hand on their buttock, between the legs, or on their thighs or stomach; as well as obscene sexual propositions, and sometimes insistent groaning.”
The report said these incidents were often brushed off on set with laughter, and the same phrase when some complained: “Oh ok, it’s just Gérard!”
It also noted that many of the accusers had not come forward at the time of Depardieu’s acts, for fear of a backlash which might result in them not working again.
“An element comes back in the stories,” wrote the news site. “The asymmetry between, on the one hand, often young, precarious women, starting their career, and on the other, a world-famous actor, whose mere presence sometimes makes it possible to finance the film.
The publication of the accusations came just days after Médiapart’s Editor-in-Chief Ewdy Plenel hit the headlines in his own right after it emerged he had filed a complaint for violence against director-actress Maïwenn Le Besco, whose Johnny Depp-starring costume romanceJeanne du Barry is opening Cannes this year.
According to French media, Plenel reported he had been grabbed violently by the hair and spat at by a lone woman in a restaurant. Serving staff had then reportedly identified her as Maïwenn.
Plenel said he had never had any personal dealings with Maïwenn.
However, Médiapart has published in-depth reports on accusations of sexual assault against Luc Besson, her former husband and father of her eldest child. Besson strongly denied the reports at the time.