The recent assault allegation against Maïwenn, the writer, director, and star of “Jeanne du Barry,” has taken a new twist. French journalist Edwy Plenel, the editor-in-chief of Mediapart magazine, whom Maïwenn admitted to attacking, has suggested that the motive behind the assault was retaliation for Mediapart’s coverage of her ex-husband Luc Besson’s sexual abuse allegations. Besson, known for directing “Léon: The Professional,” faced accusations of rape by Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy and other women in 2018. However, the case against him was dismissed in 2021 following an investigation.
Maïwenn and Besson were married in 1992 when she was only 16 years old. They had known each other since she was 12, and their relationship began when she was 15. In a 1994 DVD interview about the film “Léon: The Professional,” Maïwenn mentioned that the central relationship in the movie was inspired by her own love story with Besson. The couple divorced in 1997.
Plenel revealed that Mediapart had published information provided by Maïwenn to the police during their investigation into Besson. This information included details about the complicated aspects of her relationship with Besson, particularly during their separation. However, Mediapart never received any protest or response from Maïwenn after the publication of their piece, which occurred about five years ago. Plenel questions why, if she desired revenge, Maïwenn never reached out through email or phone calls.
According to Plenel, the alleged assault occurred when Maïwenn pulled his hair and spat in his face during a meal at a Paris restaurant. He filed a police report on March 7, stating that the incident took place in late February.
Plenel emphasized that he did not personally know Maïwenn and would not have been able to recognize her. He believes that the assault was not directed at him as an individual but as a symbolic act against the #MeToo movement and the journalistic work of Mediapart in uncovering sexual misconduct. Plenel further suggested that Maïwenn, who has expressed anti-#MeToo sentiments, made the gesture to gain favor among her acquaintances and proudly discussed it on television.
Plenel stated that his only expectation was an apology from Maïwenn, which she refused to provide. In a recent interview, Maïwenn admitted to the assault but expressed her reluctance to discuss it further, stating that she would address it at the appropriate time. She mentioned feeling anxious about the release of her film, “Jeanne du Barry,” which premiered at Cannes.
The casting of Johnny Depp in “Jeanne du Barry” has sparked protests at Cannes due to the actor’s involvement in the Amber Heard abuse trial. Despite the controversy, Cannes director Thierry Fremaux and Maïwenn have stood by Depp after his recent defamation trial victory.
Plenel pointed out the questionable symbolism of Cannes choosing Maïwenn’s film, which portrays a courtesan seeking power, as the opening night selection. He criticized the film’s mythology, the casting of Depp, Maïwenn’s anti-#MeToo comments, and her apparent pride in the assault, which garnered laughter on television.
Plenel also noted that he did not receive any message from Thierry Fremaux expressing solidarity with the acts of Maïwenn. He suggested that such a message would have been a courteous and appropriate gesture considering the circumstances.
Previously, Plenel and Mediapart published the #MeToo accusation made by “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” star Adèle Haenel, who claimed that French director Christophe Ruggia sexually assaulted her when she was 12 years old on the set of “The Devils.” Haenel has recently criticized the French film industry for defending known “sexual aggressors.”