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French actor Judith Godrèche speaks out against sex abuse at César awards ceremony

In Europe, World
February 23, 2024

France’s annual movie awards ceremony took a somber turn Friday with a standing ovation for actress Judith Godreche who spoke out against sexual violence in the film industry.

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“Why accept that this art that we love so much, this art that unites us, be used as a cover for illicit trafficking of young women?” Godreche told the 49th Cesar Awards ceremony.

Police opened an investigation earlier this month after Godreche filed a complaint for sexual violence against French film director Benoit Jacquot, 77, with whom she had a relationship in the late 1980s when she was a minor.

Reuters could not reach Jacquot for comment. He has told Le Monde newspaper his first sexual relationship with Godreche happened after her 15th birthday, the legal age of consent in France. Godreche told French media she was 14.

In his interview with Le Monde, Jacquot, who is 25 years older than Godreche, denied any violence towards her.

Leftist union CGT Spectacle held a protest outside the Cesar venue.

“Judith Godreche has had the courage to talk about her story … about the sexual violence so many women have suffered in a professional environment,” CGT said.

Read more‘Wind of revolt’ sweeps French cinema in belated #MeToo reckoning

Culture Minister Rachida Dati – one of the first in the audience to stand after Godreche’s remarks – said this week that the French film industry was only now becoming aware of “collective blindness that lasted for years” regarding sexual violence in French cinema.

She told Le Film Francais that art was no excuse for crime. “We are not talking about art, but pedocriminality,” she said.

Godreche, who starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in the 1998 “The Man in the Iron Mask”, had a breakout role in a 1986 Jacquot movie.

The allegations come just weeks after Gerard Depardieu came under fire for making lewd comments about women in a TV programme. The actor has been the focus of accusations of sexual violence in recent years. He has denied wrongdoing.

(Reuters)

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