Continue reading: French film director Luc Besson hit by sex assault claims – France – RFI
A young actress has lodged a complaint for rape against French film director Luc Besson, judicial sources said on Saturday, the latest in a string of sexual abuse allegations in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
The filmmaker’s lawyer Thierry Marembert said he categorically denied the claims calling them “fantasist accusations”, adding that the complainant was someone he knew “towards whom he has never behaved inappropriately”. Police in Paris opened an investigation after the actress accused the 59-year-old “The Big Blue”, “Nikita” and “Leon” director of raping her, the judicial sources said. A “complaint has been made for acts qualifying as rape by the plaintiff which happened Thursday night into Friday in Paris,” they said, adding that police were investigating. News of the allegation emerged shortly before the closing ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival which was marked this year by an emotional speech by a Weinstein accuser.
Italian star Asia Argento, who has said she was raped by the Hollywood mogul at Cannes in 1997, told the ceremony he would never be welcome at the event again. “This festival was his hunting ground,” said Argento, who says she was 21 when Weinstein attacked her in his hotel room. Sources said Besson’s accuser went to police on Friday to file a complaint against Besson after the alleged assault at the Bristol hotel in the French capital.
The complainant said she had been in a relationship with him for around two years, stating she felt pressured into being intimate with him for professional reasons. One source close to the investigation said Besson was out of the country and had not been questioned. According to Europe 1 radio, which broke the story, Besson’s accuser said she had “drunk a cup of tea, then felt unwell and lost consciousness”.
The station quoted her as saying that when she came round she remembered being sexually assaulted. Giant of French cinema Besson, who is married to a film producer, has three children with his wife and two more from previous relationships. He has been married four times, including to US actress Milla Jovovich.
In the shadow of the horrific alleged rape in Unnao and alleged rape and murder in Kathua, and worldwide acknowledgment of workplace harassment of women (#MeToo, #TimesUp), feminism has an important role to play
“One is not born, but rather, becomes a woman,” wrote Simone de Beauvoir in her seminal book The Second Sex. At the time, the book was considered so radical that the Vatican put it on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (index of prohibited books). Beauvoir died at the age of 78 on this day 32 years ago, leaving behind a legacy of revolutionary thinking, activism, and having spurred the beginning of the ‘second wave’ of feminism.
As an existentialist, Beauvoir believed that human beings create their own values through their consciousness, and not simply by some inborn “essence”. She drew upon this philosophy to describe the sex-gender distinction, in which she explains that there is a difference between biological sex assigned to a child at birth, and the social and historical construction of gender and the stereotypes that become associated with them. Her argument is that all children are born the same way, but become conditioned by the society around them to think that men must behave a certain way and women in certain others. She calls women the ‘second sex’ because historically, women have always been defined in relation to men, as though the male was the ideal — that women could only aspire to be, but can never really become [ . . . ]