July 19, 2024

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Inquiry opens into death of French star Emmanuelle Debever

2 min read

An investigation has been opened after the death last week of French actor Emmanuelle Debever, who was among more than a dozen women accusing movie star Gérard Depardieu of sexual misconduct, the Paris prosecutor’s office said Thursday.

Debever published a Facebook post in 2019 alleging that Depardieu had groped her in 1982 while they were co-starring in the film “Danton.”

“This monster allowed himself to enjoy plenty during filming, making the most of the intimacy inside a carriage,” she wrote. “Sliding his fat paw under my skirt to, in his words, ‘make me feel better’ … I didn’t allow it to happen.”

Debever’s partner told police on Nov. 29 that the 60-year-old had left their home, leaving behind a “worrying” written note, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. She later jumped from a Paris bridge into the Seine river, was given emergency care by rescuers and transported to a hospital, the prosecutor’s office said.

Debever died the same day an investigative documentary aired on the national TV channel France 2 about accusations of sexual misconduct against Depardieu, which included footage of him repeatedly making obscene remarks and gestures during a 2018 trip to North Korea. The documentary, from the investigative news program “Complément d’Enquête,” promoted the show last week, including interview clips of French actor Hélène Darras, who filed an official complaint against Depardieu, alleging she was sexually assaulted by the actor on the set of the 2007 film “Disco.”

Depardieu, 74, was indicted in December 2020 in the wake of sexual-misconduct allegations by “Delta” star Charlotte Arnould in 2018. He has denied any wrongdoing.

In October, Depardieu published an open letter in the French newspaper Le Figaro that said, “I want to tell you the truth. I have never, ever abused a woman.”

The Paris prosecutor’s office said that, given Debever’s accusations against Depardieu, an investigation into the causes of death had been opened — standard procedure in France when causes of death are unknown or suspicious.

The French investigative news website Mediapart earlier this year published information saying that Depardieu had been accused of harassing, groping or sexually assaulting 13 women. The France 2 documentary claims the number of accusers now stands at 16.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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