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Alain Delon’s Cannes prize sends ‘bad message’, says French rights group

FRANCE 24 screengrab | French film star Alain Delon

Rights groups are railing against this year’s Cannes Film Festival for its decision to honour legendary French actor Alain Delon, whose views on women, same-sex couples, and politics have stirred controversy.

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Delon, 83, is to receive an honorary Palme d’Or on Sunday with festival organisers defending their choice, saying Delon was not perfect "but was being recognised for his acting career".

In a recent interview with the Journal du Dimanche, Delon, stood by some of his provocative comments, but insisted that others had been distorted.

"I'm not against gay marriage, I don't care: people should do as they please," he told the JDD. "But I'm against adoption by two people of the same sex."

"I said I'd slapped a woman? Yes. And I should have added that I've received more slaps than I've ever given. I've never harassed a woman in my life. They, however, harassed me a lot."

Marion Duquesne, a spokesperson for French women’s rights group Les Effrontées, told FRANCE 24 it was important to show festival organisers that “actions speak louder than words”.

“It’s unfortunate, after last year, the Cannes Festival made a declaration that it wanted to fight against sexual and sexist violence,” she said. “If they’re going to say things and not do them then it’s not really useful.”

“To give an award to a man who has made homophobic, misogynistic, and racist statements, and who’s accused by his son of domestic violence ….. I think it sends a bad message.” 

The Cannes prize has sparked global criticism, particularly in the wake of the #MeToo movement to demand greater respect and representation for women, which erupted following a wave of sexual harassment scandals that rocked the movie industry.

An online petition launched from the United States decrying the award had by Sunday reached just over 25,500 signatories.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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