French actress defends men's 'right to hit on' women

Sexual harassment Thousands of French women take to streets to say #MeToo

The authors criticised campaigns like #MeToo and its French equivalent, #BalanceTonPorc (call out your pig), and believe they are threatening "sexual liberty" and triggering a "wave of purification".

"Men have been sanctioned in their professions, forced to resign, etc., when their only wrongdoing was touching someone's knee, trying to steal a kiss, talking about "intimate" things during a professional dinner, or sending messages with a sexual connotation to a woman who wasn't attracted to them", they wrote.

The letter also denounced a "new puritanism" and the tide of "denunciations" that have brought down scores of men following the sex-scandal that rocked Hollywood past year.

"We intimidate people into speaking 'correctly, ' shout down those who don't fall into line, and those women who refused to bend [to the new realities] are regarded as complicit and traitors", the letter added.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire. They denounced what they saw as "Puritanism" and complained that women were being treated as powerless "perpetual victims", reports the BBC.

They argued that men's right to "pester" a woman was an essential part of sexual freedom. But across the pond in France, women have stepped up to criticise the global campaign, claiming it has made targets of men who may have only engaged in innocent flirtation.

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"This urge to send men to the slaughterhouse, instead of helping women be more autonomous, helps the enemies of sexual freedom", the letter said. "After "Calling out your pig" what are we going to have, 'Call out your whore?'" she said.

'As women we do not recognise ourselves in this feminism, which beyond denouncing the abuse of power, takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality'.

In October 2017, a group of French feminists interrupted a retrospective of film-maker Roman Polanski in Paris, with a topless protest against the Franco-Polish director who is wanted in the United States for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977.

"I always found the word "rape" was excessive", Deneuve said.

The French broadcasting watchdog later called her comments "retrograde".