French actor Gérard Depardieu today spoke for the first time about being charged with raping and sexual abusing a young actress, saying: ‘I am innocent’.
The 72-year-old film star broke his silence on Thursday after Paris prosecutors confirmed he faced trial and prison for the attacks allegedly carried out at his £45million mansion in 2018.
‘I can only reject all the accusations as clearly as possible, as I’ve already done in front of the investigators.’
French actor Gérard Depardieu today spoke for the first time about being charged with raping and sexual abusing a young actress, saying: ‘I am innocent’
Depardieu noted that the accusations made by the 22-year-old complainant, who cannot be named because of legal reasons, were originally thrown out by examining magistrates following nine months of enquiries.
He said: ‘For me, the investigation was closed for lack of evidence. In court, I will reaffirm my innocence. I am innocent and I have nothing to fear’.
The actor, who is free without any bail conditions, said his next meeting with judges was on March 10.
Depardieu said he had ‘a feeling of sadness and perplexity in front of a completely unfounded story, and by all the media hype generated by an investigation that I considered as closed.’
Depardieu is one of numerous powerful men in the Paris arts establishment who have been accused of abuse following the creation of the #MeToo movement which encourages women to make their complaints about sex attacks public.
But Depardieu lashed out at such media coverage, denouncing ‘an era dominated by a continuous and ruthless flow of information pouring out online.’
Depardieu said he had ‘a feeling of sadness and perplexity in front of a completely unfounded story, and by all the media hype generated by an investigation that I considered as closed’
He said: ‘It’s like we’re living with headphones all the time that broadcast bad news and often false or biased information. I hate it all.’
Depardieu, who made his name in Hollywood hits such as Green Card, is currently working on the set of a new police drama in Paris.
He was pictured and videoed on the banks of the River Seine last Friday, as he shot a scene from ‘Maigret And The Dead Girl’ with co-star Jade Labeste, 25.
French media has reported that there is CCTV footage of Depardieu performing a sex act on his alleged victim in August 2018.
The victim has said that she was in a state of ‘denial’ when she returned to his home after the initial alleged assault, and that she was then assaulted for a second time.
The footage was retrieved by judicial police officers investigating a series of alleged attacks carried out by the 72-year-old actor in August 2018.
He admits a ‘consensual relationship’ with the 22-year-old year old complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, but vehemently denies any wrongdoing.
In turn, the complainant has told police she was attacked after visiting him as a family friend, and receiving advice about her career.
Now the French media report that investigating sources say that the CCTV was retrieved from Dépardieu’s mansion on the Left Bank of Paris during a nine-month investigation that started in September 2018.
‘In August 2018 the accused was giving the complainant advice about her career as an actress, and she visited him at his Paris home,’ said the source.
‘There are lots of text messages between the two – they were in regular contact, discussing all kinds of matters.
‘It was on August 7 that the complainant says she was first raped. Video footage in the accused’s house shows them sitting and talking, and then a sex act was filmed.
The complainant has told police that she was ‘ill and confused’ about what was happening, and ‘in a state of denial’ returned to Dépardieu’s home on August 13, when a second rape allegedly took place. Pictured: Dépardieu on a film set on February 19, 2021
‘The pair made their way upstairs to a bedroom, one after the other, but there was no camera inside the bedroom.’
At the time, the complainant was suffering from Tetany – a medical condition caused by low blood calcium that causes spasms and cramps, said the source.
The complainant has told police that she was ‘ill and confused’ about what was happening, and ‘in a state of denial’ returned to Dépardieu’s home on August 13, when a second rape allegedly took place.
‘It was two weeks later that she told her mother about what had happened, and then she went to police,’ said the investigating source.
Beyond the CCTV, evidence includes ‘disturbing text messages’, in which Dépardieu is said to referenced the late French singer Monique Serf, who was known as Barbara, and who was sexually abused by her father.
French actor Gerard Depardieu (centre) was bacl working on the set of a new police drama in Paris – despite being charged with raping and sexually abusing a young actress in the city
The 72-year-old actor was photographed as he shot a scene from Maigret and the Dead Girl with co-star Jade Labeste (left), 25
Last Friday, Depardieu was pictured back working on the set of a new police drama in Paris – despite being charged with raping and sexually abusing a young actress in the city.
The 72-year-old was photographed on the banks of the River Seine, as he shot a scene from Maigret and the Dead Girl with co-star Jade Labeste, 25.
Dépardieu, a divorced father-of-four, spends a lot of time in Italy with his long-term partner, the wine entrepreneur and novelist, Clémentine Igou.
Other big names in French cinema accused of rape in recent months include the director Luc Besson, whose films include Nikita and The Fifth Element.
Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, one of France’s best known TV presenters, was this month accused of rape.
Georges Tron, France’s former Secretary of State, last week began serving three years in prison after a court found him guilty of raping an employee in his office and at the home of a co-defendant.
Gérald Darmanin, France’s current Interior Minister, is also at the centre of a rape enquiry.
Prosecutors in Paris have confirmed that Dépardieu (right), a divorced father-of-four whose long-term partner is the wine entrepreneur and novelist Clémentine Igou (left), has been charged with ‘rapes’ and ‘sexual abuse’
Such scandals have led to demonstrations by women’s groups at high-profile showbusiness events, as they call for women actors to stop working with allegedly abusive men.
On Wednesday, Dépardieu’s lawyer, Hervé Temime said: ‘I’m convinced that at the end of this investigation, Gérard Depardieu will be exonerated of all guilt.
‘If there is a case where the presumption of innocence has more meaning than ever, it is this one,’ said Mr Temime.
Mr Temime said his client was now free on bail, and was ‘sorry that this information [about the case] has been made public.’
The complainant’s lawyer, Elodie Tuaillon-Hibon, said that she hoped her client’s ‘private sphere will be respected’ as the case unfolds.