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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 March 2021

French actor Gerard Depardieu charged with rape in revived case

The star's lawyer says Depardieu 'completely rejects the accusations'

Gerard Depardieu's lawyer says the actor 'completely rejects the accusations'. Reuters 
Gerard Depardieu's lawyer says the actor 'completely rejects the accusations'. Reuters 

French film giant Gerard Depardieu has been charged with rape and sexual assault, the latest in a string of such allegations against prominent figures in France.

Depardieu, one of the most famous actors of his generation, is accused of assaulting and raping an actress in her 20s in 2018.

An initial investigation into the rape accusations against Depardieu, 72, was dropped in 2019 for lack of evidence.

But it was reopened last summer, leading to criminal charges being filed in December, a judicial source said on Tuesday.

The actress accuses Depardieu of having raped and assaulted her at his Parisian home on two separate occasions in August 2018.

Depardieu's lawyer Herve Temime said the actor, who is free but under judicial supervision, "completely rejects the accusations".

According to a source close to the case, Depardieu is a friend of the actress's family.

Some reports have suggested that Depardieu and the actress were rehearsing a scene of a theatre play, but the source said "there was nothing professional about the encounter".

The woman's lawyer, Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, said she hoped her client's "private sphere will be respected" as the case unfolds.

Besides long being a superstar in his home country, Depardieu is one of France's best-known actors abroad.

He won acclaim in French-language films such as The Last Metro and Jean de Florette, but went on to perform in a range of English-language movies, including the romantic comedy Green Card and a film version of Hamlet.

Just more than three years since the #MeToo movement broke taboos across the world, France is seeing another outpouring of stories and a wide-ranging debate about power and consent.

Each week has brought new revelations targeting the rich and powerful, with one of the country's best-known television presenters, Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, becoming the latest to be accused of rape.

Former French government minister Georges Tron last week began serving three years in prison after a court found him guilty of raping an employee during "foot massages" in his office and at the home of his co-defendant.

Updated: February 24, 2021 10:15 AM

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