The Paris Court of Appeal will issue a decision on Thursday March 10 on the French actor’s request to cancel his indictment for “rape” and “sexual assault” on Charlotte Arnould, a young actress, born in 1995.
The Paris Court of Appeal will issue its decision on Thursday on actor Gérard Depardieu’s request to cancel his indictment for “rape” and “sexual assault” on actress Charlotte Arnould, alleged facts dating from August 2018 The investigating chamber had studied on February 3 the request of the monument of French cinema, aged 73, to declare the nullity of his indictment concerning these facts that he “totally disputes“.
Before the deliberation, expected Thursday March 10 at 1 p.m., neither Gérard Depardieu’s lawyer, Me Hervé Temime, nor the plaintiff’s lawyer, Me Carine Durrieu-Diebolt, wished to comment.
The complainant Charlotte Arnould, born in 1995 and aged 22 at the time of the events, presented herself to the Lambesc gendarmerie in the Bouches-du-Rhône at the end of August 2018, claiming to have been raped a few days earlier on two occasions in the Parisian home of the star, a mansion in the sixth arrondissement of Paris.
The actor is said to be a family friend of the alleged victim. The legal proceedings opened in Aix-en-Provence against the French actor, also a Russian citizen since 2013, had been transferred to the capital. A confrontation between the actor and the young actress was organized in the premises of the Parisian judicial police, indicated a source close to the file to AFP.
Classification without follow-up then resumption of the investigation
On June 4, 2019, the public prosecutor had however closed the file without further action after nine months of preliminary investigation, explaining that “the numerous investigations carried out” had “not allowed to characterize the offenses denounced in all their constituent elements“. But, in mid-August 2020, the complainant obtained the resumption of the investigation by means of a complaint with civil action.
A Parisian investigating judge indicted Gérard Depardieu on December 16, 2020 for “rape” and “sexual assault”, leaving him free without judicial control.
The complainant, Charlotte Arnould, spoke in mid-December on Twitter to reveal her identity. “He works while I spend my time surviving“, she wrote. Since his indictment, Gérard Depardieu has been heard on the merits of the case by the investigating judge, according to sources familiar with the matter.
“Feminist” pressure in the United States
Gérard Depardieu, who will therefore know on March 10 if the Paris Court of Appeal confirms his indictment for rape, was in 1991 at the heart of a lively Franco-American controversy caused by an interview with a disputed translation where he seemed recognize such acts.
The story begins in the summer of 1977 on the set of Prepare your tissues, a film by Bertrand Blier. The young actor, already compared to Belmondo or Delon, is questioned about his tumultuous adolescence at the end of the 1950s in Châteauroux. In a portrait, the American magazine Movie How reports these words in English from Depardieu: “It was my friend Jackie – he was 16 or 17 – who took me on my first rape. One thing leading to another, and presto! It was done (…) It was normal“.
The future actor was then only nine years old. “After that, I had plenty of rapes, too many to count“. “But there was nothing wrong with that“Added the actor quoted in this article published in 1978. “The girls wanted to be raped. Well, it’s not really about rape. It’s just the story of a girl who puts herself in a situation that she likes.»
Largely unnoticed, these remarks are unearthed by the weekly Time in 1991, when Gérard Depardieu was in the running for the Oscar for best actor in Cyrano de Bergerac.
Nine years old at the time of the events
A journalist from Time then asks the actor: “And what about the story that he participated in his first rape at age 9? “Yes.” And after that, there were many rapes? “Yes”, admits Depardieu, but it was absolutely normal in these circumstances“, according to the exchange reported by the magazine. This passage arouses the ire of feminists in the United States, at a time when the political class is concerned about the increasing number of rapes.
“Horrified”, the powerful National Organization for Women (NOW) demands an apology from “Cyrano“, an “idol turned rapist” according to the washington post. Faced with American “virtue leagues” and “puritanism”, France is closing ranks. It is an “orchestrated attack” by the American press, “frightened by the great popularity of the actor“, then dares the newspaper of Antenne 2. The French political class gets involved. “I am wholeheartedly with you“, sends him by telegram the Minister of Culture, Jack Lang.
Gérard Depardieu denounces a translation error. When journalist Victoria Foote-Blackman asked him in French if he admitted having “attendedof rapes, Time writes in English that it confirms there are “participated“, According to a short transcript of the interview seen by AFP.
Translation mistake? The full recording is now untraceable. Asked by AFP, the journalist, now retired, remembers: Depardieu first assumed his statements to Movie How in 1977, she said, before confirming that she had “attended” rather than “take part in» rapes.
The ex-journalist explains today that he found “downright paranoid» the French reaction to the article by Time, presented as an American attempt to destabilize a foreign rival for the Oscar. On what may have happened in the actor’s youth, “there is nothing certain“. “Depardieu was part of a gang that was said to behave terrible“, she notes.
Depardieu mentions the case in his biography
In his autobiography Living ! (Plon) published in 2004, the actor returns to his controversial youth but denies any rape and mentions a double translation error, in Movie How in 1978 then in Time in 1991. However, he recognizes his “clumsiness“in the manner of speaking of this”ignominy“.
Asked by AFP, lawyer Hervé Temime explains that his client “never made the remarks attributed to him” who “are due to a major translation error” who “was admitted, and the European edition of the Time was changed at the time. Gérard Depardieu had mandated American lawyers to initiate a defamation action which he waived after Steve Ross, boss of Time Warner, apologized to him“. Contacted, Time did not respond to AFP.
“It is particularly malicious to come back to this episode. »
Maître Temime, adviser to Gérard Depardieu
This case is mentioned, according to sources close to the file, in the complaint of the young actress Charlotte Arnould, which is worth to Gérard Depardieu his indictment for “rape” of December 2020.
The English-speaking press mentioned it again when the actor was questioned in February 2021. Carine Durrieu-Diebolt, the complainant’s new lawyer, declined to comment. His colleague Hervé Temime finds, “particularly malicious to return to this episode», According to him without foundation. According to an acquaintance with the sacred monster of French cinema, this old controversy still has the gift of making Gérard Depardieu “crazy” today.