Second actor sues French director Jacquot over rape accusation

French actor Isild Le Besco and film director Benoit Jacquot in 2006 (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE)
French actor Isild Le Besco and film director Benoit Jacquot in 2006 (FILIPPO MONTEFORTE)

A second French actor has filed a legal complaint against arthouse film director Benoit Jacquot accusing him of rape, including when she was a minor, she and her lawyer said.

The French film industry is reeling from accusations it has too long provided cover for abuse, including after a series of allegations against 75-year-old screen legend Gerard Depardieu, which he denies.

Another film sector figure who has been accused of sexual abuse is Jacquot, though he too has rejected all charges.

Judith Godreche, a 52-year-old actor and director, has formally accused Jacquot and another filmmaker, Jacques Doillon, of rape and sexual assault when she was a minor. Both men deny the allegations.

Fellow actor Isild Le Besco, 41, told the Liberation newspaper in an article posted late Wednesday that she too had filed a legal complaint against Jacquot, accusing him of raping her during a toxic relationship that started when she was 16 and he was 52.

Her lawyer said the complaint accused Jacquot of rapes between 1998 and 2007.

Le Besco said she did not expect her complaint to amount to anything, but she was doing it to support other women.

"I am using my simple little case to show that Benoit Jacquot acted with me as he did with other young women, that I am part of a system," she told Liberation.

Since breaking her silence, Godreche, who was in a relationship with Jacquot from the age of 14, has become a leading voice in France's #MeToo movement.

After she appealed for a cinema oversight body, parliament voted this month to create a commission to investigate sexual and gender-based violence in the film industry and other cultural sectors.