May 26th, 2024

Depardieu briefly detained by French police, reportedly on sexual assault allegations

By Oleg Cetinic, The Associated Press on April 29, 2024.

FILE - Actor Gerard Depardieu addresses the media during the press conference for the film 'Saint Amour' at the 2016 Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. French media are reporting that police have summoned actor Gérard Depardieu for questioning about allegations made by two women that he sexually assaulted them on movie sets. Broadcaster BFMTV and the daily Le Parisien both reported that the 75-year-old actor was called in for police questioning in Paris on Monday, April 29, 2024. (AP Photo/Axel Schmidt, File)

PARIS (AP) – French police detained actor Gérard Depardieu for several hours Monday for what media reports said was questioning over accusations by two women that he sexually assaulted them on movie sets.

Broadcaster BFMTV and the daily Le Parisien reported that the 75-year-old actor was summoned Monday morning by Paris police and placed in custody.

Depardieu previously has denied any wrongdoing. The actor’s lawyer, Christian Saint-Palais, later told reporters at the police station in the 14th district of Paris that: “The police custody is over. He is no longer held in the police station,” but declined to make any further comment.

The Paris police force said it wasn’t authorized to comment and directed questions to the Paris prosecutor’s office, which said it had no comment “at this stage.”

“We have no information to communicate or confirm before having assessed any eventual charges and directions,” the office said in an emailed response to questions from The Associated Press.

A lawyer for one of the alleged victims did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

In an open letter last October, Depardieu said: “I have never, ever abused a woman.”

BFMTV and Le Parisien reported that the police summons relates to accusations of sexual assault filed by two women who accuse him of groping during filming – one in 2014, the other in 2021.

The alleged 2014 assault was reported to police in January this year, Le Parisien reported.

The other alleged assault involved a 53-year-old movie decorator. She alleged that Depardieu grabbed her and kneaded her waist, stomach and breasts during filming for “Les Volets verts,” or “The Green Shutters,” according to the woman’s lawyer, Carine Durrieu Diebolt, when she filed the complaint to the Paris prosecutor’s office in February.

Depardieu has also been accused by more than a dozen other women of harassing, groping or sexually assaulting them. He was handed preliminary rape and sexual assault charges in 2020 following allegations from actor Charlotte Arnould.

Depardieu was long seen as a national icon in France. He has been a global ambassador for French film and enjoyed international fame with several roles in Hollywood.

The latest episode involving Depardieu came as French cinema is roiled by a #metoo awakening following actor Judith Godrèche’s call for France’s film industry to “face the truth” on sexual violence and physical abuse. She made that appeal during a live broadcast in February of the Cesar Awards ceremony, France’s version of the Oscars.

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AP writers Barbara Surk in Nice, France, and John Leicester in Le Pecq, France, contributed.

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