Former French actress and sex symbol Brigitte Bardot said in an interview published Thursday that she thinks most actresses protesting sexual harassment in the film industry are “hypocritical” and “ridiculous” because many play “the teases” with producers to land parts.
The star of And God Created Woman also said in the interview with weekly Paris-Match magazine that in her view, so many actresses are coming out with sexual misconduct allegations “so that we talk about them.”
Bardot, 83, is the second French film legend to distance herself from the worldwide protest movement against sexual misconduct, known as the #MeToo campaign. Last week, Catherine Deneuve signed a collective op-ed that said “insistent or clumsy hitting-on is not a crime.”
Bardot, who is known as an animal rights activist these days but inspired the term “sex kitten” as a young actress, said she never had been a victim of sexual harassment and found it “charming to be told that I was beautiful or that I had a nice little ass.”
“This kind of compliment is pleasant,” she said.
Bardot said her comments on sexual misconduct only concerned actresses, not women in general. She added that actresses campaigning against sexual harassment in the entertainment industry are “of no interest.”
“This [issue] takes the place of important topics that could be discussed” instead in the news, she argued
As for actresses who allege they have been victims of misconduct, Bardot suggested they might become the targets of a personal backlash instead of the publicity she thinks they want.
“Actually, rather than benefit them, it only harms them,” Bardot said.
In an open letter published last week in Le Monde newspaper, Deneuve and 100 or so performers, scholars and other prominent French women said men are being unfairly accused of sexual misconduct and harassment and should be free to hit on women.
The signatories argued that the “legitimate protest against sexual violence” stemming from the Harvey Weinstein scandal had gone too far and threatened hard-won sexual freedoms.
After the op-ed encountered intense criticism in the French press and on social media, Deneuve, who is known as a women’s advocate, apologized to victims of “odious” acts of sexual abuse.
Bardot has a different profile. Since ending her acting career more than four decades ago, she has dedicated herself to the cause of animal welfare. Politically, she defines herself as a right-wing conservative.
Bardot also has been convicted of multiple racial hatred offenses for comments about Islam and the Muslim community.