French investigation underway into death of actress who accused Gérard Depardieu of sexual misconduct

  • An investigation has been launched by the Paris prosecutor’s office into the death of French actress Emmanuelle Debever, who accused actor Gérard Depardieu of sexual misconduct.
  • Debever’s partner reported to the police on Nov. 29 that she left their home after leaving a troubling note, and later she jumped from a Paris bridge into the Seine river.
  • Depardieu, 74, has consistently denied any criminal conduct, including allegations of rape and sexual assault.

An investigation was opened following the death last week of a French actress who was among those accusing movie star Gérard Depardieu of sexual misconduct, the Paris prosecutor’s office said Thursday.

Actress Emmanuelle Debever published a post on Facebook in 2019 that Depardieu had groped her in 1982 while they were acting together for the film “Danton.”

Debever’s partner told police on Nov. 29 she left their home, leaving 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.

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She died Dec. 7 at the age of 60, according to press reports.

Actor Gérard Depardieu poses for photographers during a photo call for the film Valley of Love, at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France on May 22, 2015. An investigation was opened following the death of a French actress who was among those accusing Depardieu of sexual misconduct, the Paris prosecutor’s office said on Dec. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

On the same day, an investigative documentary was aired on 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.

Depardieu, 74, has been under investigation since December 2020 for rape and sexual assault, reportedly at his Paris home, following allegations from actress Charlotte Arnould in 2018. He has denied any criminal conduct.

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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 has been open — procedure in France when causes of death are unknown or suspicious.

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

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