France: Police arrest actor Gérard Depardieu for sexual assault

The famous actor had already been the subject of lawsuits since 2020 for several cases of workplace harassment.

French actor Gérard Depardieu was arrested Monday, according to AFP. On charges of sexual assault, police summoned Depardieu to appear at a police station as part of an investigation into several complaints. After this appearance, he was arrested at the station.

Two women have accused the actor of touching them inappropriately in a sexual manner during the filming of two different films. The films were "Le Magicien et les Siamois" and "Les Volets Verts," from 2014 and 2022 respectively. According to French outlet Le Figaro, the first complaint was filed by a 24-year-old production assistant to whom Depardieu allegedly made several inappropriate advances, in addition to having put "his hands all over [her] body," as stated in the complaint and reported by Le Figaro.

The second lawsuit dates back to February of this year and was filed by a 53-year-old set designer, who Depardieu also allegedly touched without her consent. According to this complaint, the 75-year-old actor had even tried to have sexual relations with her by grabbing her in a hallway on the set. For both complaints, it is stipulated that Gérard Depardieu acted from a position of superiority in the workplace, which is an aggravating factor in these crimes.

Trial by media

The events that occurred this Monday are the continuation of a battle in the courtroom and the media centered around the French actor. It began in 2020, when Depardieu was the subject of a police investigation for crimes of the same nature as those that led to his arrest. The events that Depardieu was then accused of go back many years. The actor first appeared on the big screen in 1970 and since then became one of the most-recognized French actors of his time.

The accusations against Depardieu motivated a wave of complaints in the French film industry, similar to The Me Too movement in Hollywood. Since Depardieu has been the subject of accusations, his projects and media appearances have been significantly reduced. The actor claims there is a media witch hunt against him.