Catherine Deneuve: #MeToo movement is a 'witch hunt' that has 'punished' men

The actress has spoken out against the movement previously.

— -- French actress Catherine Deneuve is one of 100 women who've signed an open letter slamming the #MeToo movement, claiming it's a "witch hunt" that unfairly persecutes men.

The letter, which was published by France's La Monde newspaper, said that men should be "free to hit on" women, and condemns "puritanism" that has resulted from last year’s sexual harassment scandals.

“Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss,” read the letter, which was signed by women from many different fields. “What began as freeing women up to speak has today turned into the opposite –- 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.”

A representative for Deneuve did not respond to a request for comment.

The letter's stance is a stark departure from the reaction of many in Hollywood, where hundreds of actresses recently bonded together to form a new initiative called Time's Up, which aims to fight discrimination in all industries. On Sunday night, nearly every actress who attended the Golden Globes wore black in solidarity with victims of harassment and in support of the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.

Still, this is not the first time the actress, 74, has spoken out against the movement, which was sparked last year after dozens of women came forward with stories of sexual misconduct. During an interview on the French television show "Quotidien" last October, Deneuve said that the proliferation of the hashtag wasn't productive.

“I don’t think it’s the best way to move things forward. What will it be next?" she asked. "This is excessive and does not solve any problem. There are lots of anonymous denunciations on social networks.”