France Commission to Investigate Abuse Across Film Industry

The French Parliament has agreed to launch an inquiry into sexual and gender-based violence across the country’s film, audiovisual, performing arts, advertising and fashion sectors.

On Thursday, the Assemblée Nationale unveiled the launch of the inquiry following a speech made by French actress and director Judith Godrèche in February.

Godrèche has become a crucial figure in France’s #MeToo movement after she accused acclaimed directors Benoit Jacquot and Jacques Doillion of sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. Both men have denied the claims.

She watched on, seemingly wiping away tears, as all 52 lawmakers present for the vote approved the commission on Thursday.

Parliament member for Paris and vp of the cultural affairs and education committee, Sarah Legrain, wrote on X: “The commission of inquiry against sexual violence in cinema and live performance has been launched. … It’s up to us to rise to the occasion.”

Green Party lawmaker Francesca Pasquini said: “It’s time to stop laying out the red carpet for abusers,” French newspaper Le Monde reported.

Godrèche took to the stage at the Césars — the French equivalent of the Oscars — in February. “For some time now the word has been out; the image of our idealized fathers has flayed, power seems to be wavering,” she said. “Is it possible that we can look the truth in the eye, take responsibility, to be the actors in a world that is being called into question? I know it’s scary — losing grants, losing roles, losing your job. I’m scared too. I left school at 15, I don’t have a high school diploma, nothing. It would be complicated to be blacklisted from everything. It wouldn’t be fun.”

She added: “The world is watching us … we’re lucky enough to live in a country where it seems that freedom exists. So, with the same moral strength we use to create, let us have the courage to say out loud what we know in silence. Let us not embody heroines on screen, only to find ourselves hiding in the woods in real life; let us not embody revolutionary or humanist heroes, only to wake up in the morning knowing that a director has abused a young actress and say nothing.”

The French #MeToo movement has been gaining traction, with women coming forward with stories of sexual abuse have continued to face resistance.

In December, French president Emmanuel Macron defended actor Gérard Depardieu as he faces allegations of sexual assault and rape. Depardieu, who Macron suggested was the victim of a “witch-hunt,” has denied the allegations. On Monday, it emerged that Depardieu will stand trial in October on charges of sexual assault brought by two women who claim the Green Card and Cyrano de Bergerac star assaulted them on set of the film The Green Shutters in 2021.

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