Model and actress Laetitia Casta is the latest French celebrity to join the backlash against the #MeToo movement. She claims it turns women into victims and says she wants nothing to do with it.
“I am not a feminist but a woman,” Casta, 39, told Corsican news outlet Corse-Matin during an interview ahead of a local premiere on the Mediterranean island. “Women need not be afraid … How can we give so much power to others? We are big enough to say what we want! We are responsible for ourselves.”
Casta condemned #balancetonporc – or “#ratoutyourpig” – the French hashtag equivalent of the #MeToo campaign, in which millions of French women have made allegations of sexual abuse and harassment public on social media, as being too divisive.
“I do not agree with #balancetonporc. What next – #shameyourslut? Hostility and hatred of men won’t move things forward,” said Casta, who is married to fellow thespian Louis Garrel.
Casta, who in 1999 was picked as Marianne, the feminine symbol of the French Republic, said the focus on privileged victims and perpetrators throughout the campaign, which began with allegations against US film producer Harvey Weinstein, has taken attention away from other causes.
“When I hear of women being beaten to death and barely mentioned that’s what shocks me. Let’s talk not just about Hollywood actresses, but about all the victims. And also the heroines. For example, there are sporting achievements by women that get ignored. Let’s talk about the whole picture,” said Casta, who is a bigger celebrity in her homeland than abroad due to starring almost exclusively in French-language films.
Casta follows in the footsteps of another former Marianne, Catherine Deneuve, who led a group of 100 French artists and intellectuals in signing a letter castigating the “puritan” US-led media campaign. In the letter, published in the leading daily Le Monde on Tuesday, the authors said #MeToo “denunciations” leave no space for the accused to defend themselves, and consign women to being “eternal victims” in the romantic arena.
The authors argued that the achievements of sexual liberation must be preserved, and men should be “free to hit on women.”
“Rape is a crime but insistent or clumsy flirting is not, nor is gallantry a macho aggression,” wrote the authors, whose missive provoked a heated response from some feminist activists in France and abroad, who accused them of passing off sexual offenses as innocent fun.