Journalist Assaulted by Maïwenn Slams ‘Jeanne du Barry’ Director as ‘Anti-#MeToo’

In the prelude to the big Cannes opener, the Johnny Depp-starring “Jeanne du Barry,” a journalist who was spat on by the film’s director has said that the (female) filmmaker is “outspokenly anti-#MeToo.” Maïwenn admitted last week to assaulting the journalist.

“She’s outspokenly anti-#MeToo and she made a gesture to please her world, and that’s why she bragged about it on TV,” stated Edwy Plenel when speaking to Variety in his first interview since the incident. “We could see a sort of pride that echoed that world.”

Planel was referring to Maïwenn’s comments in Paris Match in 2020 saying that “It’s crazy how many stupidities they say these days! These women don’t like men, that’s clear, and they’re causing very serious collateral damage.” In that same interview she noted “When I hear women complaining that men are only interested in their bottom, I tell them, ‘Enjoy it because it won’t last!’”

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Last week, during a television interview on a French talk show, Maïwenn confessed to spitting on Plenel. “Do I confirm that I assaulted him? Yes,” Maïwenn said on TV. “I’ll speak about it when I’m ready,” she added. “I’m very anxious about the release of my film.”

Mediapart editor-in-chief and found Edwy Plenel filed a police report on March 7, accusing the actor and filmmaker of aggression while he was eating in a restaurant. Plenel claimed he was “traumatized by the incident.” He argued to Variety that he believes she assaulted him because she was upset about an investigation that Mediapart published regarding rape and sexual assault allegations against filmmaker Luc Bresson. Maïwenn was married to the “Fifth Element” and “Le Femme Nikita” filmmaker in the 1990s. Mediapart spoke with nine women who had accused Bresson, one of whom – Sand Van Roy – filed a police report in 2018. The case was dismissed in 2021.

“I don’t know Maïwenn, I never met her. I would have been unable to recognize her,” he said. “This aggression caused more stupor than anything else. She didn’t attack just me individually, but the symbol that I represent, as the founder and director of a journal, which in France has been at the forefront of all the #MeToo revelations.”

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Plenel said that he was not initially intending to file a lawsuit related to the spitting incident and only wanted an apology from the filmmaker.

“We decided that we had to file a lawsuit, by principle, because we can’t allow someone — just because that person comes from a privileged and artistic environment — to attack the director of a publication because of its content,” Plenel said. “We filed that lawsuit to make a point and say that there is no impunity. She doesn’t risk much.”

Plenel said that the Cannes Film Festival selecting Maïwenn’s film for opening night makes a statement on France’s stance towards #MeToo. Plenel added, “It’s as if France is standing aside.”

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