Prosecutors in Paris have stated that a sexual assault complaint against Gérard Depardieu has been dismissed due to exceeding the time limit for legal action.
French actor Hélène Darras filed a complaint last year regarding the filming of Disco in 2007. It is alleged that Depardieu touched and made advances towards her during this time.
In April 2023, Darras was included in a group of 13 women who came forward to accuse Depardieu of sexual misconduct. This information was revealed in an investigative article published on the French website Mediapart. Darras submitted her complaint in September of the previous year, after being questioned during the course of the investigation.
She mentioned that it took her a year to transition from discussing the incident to filing a criminal report.
“Entering a police station and reporting that someone has touched your private areas is not a simple task. It requires time to process and consider,” she stated.
However, Darras stated that she wanted to reply to the defense’s attempt to dismiss our allegations by claiming they are solely witness testimonies.
Depardieu, 75, has been charged with rape in another case and has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women, allegations he denies. In October 2023, he published an open letter in French newspaper Le Figaro defending himself. “Never, ever have I abused a woman,” he wrote.
Last month, 56 French film actors, including Carla Bruni and Charlotte Rampling, wrote an open letter that was published in the conservative French newspaper Le Figaro. They expressed their support for Depardieu and condemned what they perceived as a public “lynching” of him.
Attorneys representing Darras and Depardieu were not immediately able to provide a comment.
During an interview with France 2 for a documentary about Depardieu, Darras claimed that he touched her hips and buttocks and asked her to come into his dressing room, despite her initial refusal.
In 2020, Depardieu was accused of rape and sexual assault by fellow actor Charlotte Arnould, for incidents that allegedly occurred in 2018. Depardieu has stated his innocence and the case is currently being processed in the legal system.
Arnould’s attorney has requested that Paris authorities look into a recording of Depardieu making offensive remarks about women while on a trip to North Korea for filming. The recording was subsequently shared with France 2 and featured in their documentary.
In another instance, Spanish writer and journalist Ruth Baza reported filing a legal accusation in Spain against Depardieu last month. She alleges that he sexually assaulted her in Paris almost thirty years ago.
The accusation is unlikely to result in legal action due to the time limit set by French law. However, Baza expressed her determination to continue in the hopes of inspiring others to take similar action.
Accusations of sexual assault against Depardieu have sparked a battleground in France, causing a divide in the film industry and creating a conflict between feminist organizations and supporters of the actor, including Emmanuel Macron.
Last month, the President of France stated that Depardieu should be presumed innocent and praised him as an exceptional actor who brings pride to France. The President also expressed concern that Depardieu is now being unfairly targeted.
In a more recent statement, Macron acknowledged that he had not adequately emphasized the significance of the words spoken by women who are victims of violence.
This report includes contributions from Agence-France Presse.