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Catherine Deneuve defends men's 'right to hit on' women

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By BBC Online
11th-Jan-2018       
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French actress Catherine Deneuve has said that men should be "free to hit on" women.
She is one of 100 French women who wrote an open letter, warning about a new "puritanism" sparked by recent sexual harassment scandals.
It deplores a wave of "denunciations", following rape allegations made against US movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
A group of French feminists condemned the letter, accusing the signatories of trivialising sexual violence.
Mr Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex, but has admitted that his behaviour has "caused a lot of pain". The letter by French women writers, performers and academics was published in France's Le Monde newspaper on Tuesday. "Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone's knee or try to steal a kiss," it said.
"Rape is a crime, but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not - and nor is men being gentlemanly a chauvinist attack."
The authors argued that there was a new "puritanism" afoot in the world. They said that while it was legitimate and necessary to speak out against the abuse of power by some men, the constant denunciations have spiralled out of control.
According to the writers, this is creating a public mood in which women are seen as powerless, as perpetual victims. "As women we do not recognise ourselves in this feminism, which beyond denouncing the abuse of power, takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality." Who are the signatories?
Deneuve is by far the most prominent of them. The other 99 women who signed the document include some well-known figures, such as actress Christine Boisson; conservative journalist Élisabeth Lévy; Brigitte Lahaie, a 1970s porn star who is now a talk-show host; Catherine Millet, a writer and magazine editor. There are also lesser-known names from the worlds of entertainment, the arts, the media, and academia. Most of the signatories, however, are professionals who are not known to the French public.

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