A lawyer for former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn says his client has asked him to sue the makers of a film about a sex addict who commits a sex assault on a hotel maid.
The new movie “Welcome to New York,” starring French star Gerard Depardieu, was featured at a screening in Cannes, coinciding with the French city’s famous film festival. It’s billed as a fictional story and includes a legal disclaimer.
But Strauss-Kahn's lawyer says the film is defamatory because its subject matter is similar to the accusations leveled against his client after a New York hotel maid said he sexually assaulted her.
Strauss-Kahn settled a civil case by the woman after criminal charges were dropped.
Attorney Jean Veil reminded listeners that the lawsuit happened three years ago and Strauss-Kahn was cleared, while speaking to Europe 1 radio Monday, Reuters reported.
"He is frightened, sickened (by the film). He has instructed his lawyers, myself, to make a complaint for defamation based on accusations of rape, on the insinuations made throughout this film," Veil said.
The film’s director, Abel Ferrara, told Reuters that the movie is fiction, during an interview in Cannes. "I'm not on trial," Ferrara said. "I'm an artist, I have freedom of speech. I'm from America I'm from the country of the free, land of the free and home of the brave.”
The film opens with an extended sex-party scene before the encounter between the main character, George Devereau, and a hotel maid. Depardieu appears naked and indulges in sexual activity with several partners throughout the over 20-minute scene.
Following the "Welcome to New York" screening at Cannes, the film was made available throughout France on pay-per-view.
Strauss-Kahn, 65, became the managing director of the IMF in 2007 but was forced to quit that position after the maid’s rape allegations in 2011. Strauss-Kahn was also charged with aggravated pimping in a separate case in France in 2013.