Catherine Deneuve apologizes to sexual assault victims after #MeToo criticism

French actress Catherine Deneuve apologized on Monday to victims of sexual assault after she signed an open letter last week that labeled the #MeToo movement a “witch hunt” following Harvey Weinstein’s allegations.

Deneuve, 74, in an interview published in French newspaper Liberation, said she was apologizing to the “victims who may have been shocked.”

“I‘m a free woman and always will be,” Deneuve said, according to a translation published by Reuters. “I send my sisterly regards to all the victims of abject acts who would have felt attacked by this column in Le Monde, and it is to them, and them only, that I offer my apologies.”

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The Oscar-nominated actress — who is best known for her role in the 1967 international classic, “Belle de Jour,” in which she played a bored housewife who secretly works at a brothel — joined 99 other signatories in signing the open letter published in French newspaper Le Monde. The letter said the #MeToo campaign has created a “witch hunt” and was fueled by a “hatred of men.”

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Deneuve is best known for her role in the 1967 international classic, “Belle de Jour,” in which she played a bored housewife who worked in a brothel.

Deneuve defended her view that men are becoming victims of “media lynching” and denounced the “climate of censorship” the campaign unleashed. In France, #MeToo translates to #BlanceTonPorc, or “calling out your pig.”

“An actor can be digitally removed from a movie, the director of a great New York institution can be forced to resign for groping somebody’s buttocks 30 years ago with no other form of trial,” she wrote. “I don’t like this pack mentality, all too common these days.”

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Deneuve also backed away from some of the comments made by the other women who signed the open letter last week. One signatory, former radio presenter Brigitte Lahaire, said on French TV that women could “orgasm during a rape.”

Deneuve responded to the comment on Monday: “Saying on a TV channel that you can orgasm during a rape is worse than spitting in the face of all those who suffered from this crime.”

The actress initially said in the open letter last week: “I don’t think it is the right method to change things, it is excessive. After ‘calling out your pig’ what are we going to have, ‘call out your whore’?”

The letter goes on to say that women are “sufficiently aware that the sexual urge is by its nature wild and aggressive. But we are also clear-eyed enough not to confuse an awkward attempt to pick someone up with a sexual attack.”

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam