French actor Gerard Depardieu
French actor Gerard Depardieu Image Credit: AFP

Rennes: A woman has accused French screen legend Gerard Depardieu of allegedly sexually assaulting her during a 2014 film shoot, according to the police complaint and a newspaper report.

Depardieu, 75, has been charged with rape in another case and has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women. He denies the allegations.

The woman registered a complaint on January 9 accusing Depardieu of "sexual assault on a vulnerable person by someone abusing the authority of their function", according to the document seen by AFP late Thursday.

She told regional newspaper Le Courrier de l'Ouest that he groped her "all over" and made "inappropriate" remarks while she was a 24-year-old assistant on the set in western France of 2015 film "Le magician et le Siamiois" ("The Magician and the Siamese").

The statute of limitations for an alleged sexual assault on an adult in France is six years.

Other assault cases

Depardieu was in 2020 charged with rape and sexual assault after actor Charlotte Arnould filed her own complaint over allegations dating to 2018.

Another sexual assault complaint filed last year by actor Helene Darras, who said Depardieu groped and propositioned her during a 2007 film shoot, has been dropped for being past the statute of limitations.

Spanish journalist and author Ruth Baza said that she had filed a criminal complaint in Spain against Depardieu last month, claiming he raped her in 1995 in Paris.

The complaint has little hope of leading to charges due to the statute of limitations in France, which is 20 years for the alleged rape of an adult.

But Baza said she decided to go ahead anyway in the hope that it would "help other people" to do the same.

Culture-war frontline

Repeated allegations against Depardieu have become a culture-war frontline in France, dividing the world of cinema and pitting feminist groups against the actor's defenders - including President Emmanuel Macron.

The French leader in December said Depardieu should enjoy the presumption of innocence, calling him an "immense actor" and insinuating he was the victim of a "man hunt".

Macron more recently allowed that he had not "said enough how important the words of women who are victims of this violence are".