Maïwenn at 2023 Cannes

Maïwenn assaulted journalist after feeling ‘morally violated’ by allegations against ex-husband Luc Besson

“Jeanne du Barry” director Maïwenn is setting the record straight about her falling out with Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel.

Maïwenn confirmed earlier this year that he actually pulled Plenel’s hair and spat in his face at a Paris restaurant; Plenel filed a police report on March 7, claiming the incident occurred in late February. The writer/director/actress, born Maïwenn Le Besco, told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (via Daily screen) that the meeting with Plenel stemmed from her feeling “morally violated” by Mediapart publishing allegations of rape against her ex-husband, filmmaker Luc Besson, without notifying her.

“I don’t blame Mediapart for its investigation of Luc Besson; I blame them for what they did to me,” he said. “It was a cataclysm. I felt morally violated. There is no justification for attacking a journalist, but there is no justification for violating the privacy and trust a woman”.

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For Maïwenn, she met a Mediapart reporter in late 2018 for an unrecorded conversation. Maïwenn also testified during the investigation of actress Sand Van Roy in June 2020 on a court order. The case against Besson was dropped in 2021 after an investigation.

However, in early 2021, Paris Match and Mediapart published excerpts of Maïwenn’s testimony without notifying her, despite Mediapart having previously promised to give her 48 hours notice for the sake of their daughter with Besson. Maïwenn filed a civil suit against Paris Match and lost; you have chosen not to file a complaint against Mediapart.

Maïwenn was married to Besson in 1992; she was 16 when they got married. The director of “Léon, the Professional” had known Maïwenn since she was 12, and the couple started dating when she was 15. The couple divorced in 1997.

Mediapart editor-in-chief Plenel apologized to Maïwenn for the meeting. However, Maïwenn said he had “proposed a discussion”. “He doesn’t want to argue, or try to understand, he just wants me to bow,” he said of Plenel.

While her film drew backlash for casting controversial character Johnny Depp in the lead male role of “Jeanne du Barry,” Maïwenn responded to the criticism, saying, “I’ve been making films for the past 17 years, in a context of women who they fight for respect. We can’t reduce everything to the Johnny Depp controversy and reverse the few nuances I’m trying to introduce into the debate against me and my films.

Mediapart editor-in-chief Plenel denounced Maïwenn’s alleged lack of support for the #MeToo movement in May 2023.

“She’s blatantly anti-#MeToo and made a gesture to please her world, which is why she bragged about it on TV,” Plenel said Variety. “We could see a kind of pride that echoed that world.”

Plenel said at the time: “We have published what (Maïwenn) told the police as part of the Besson investigation. When she spoke to the police, she discussed complicated aspects of her relationship with Luc Besson, particularly during their separation. But once our piece was published, we never received any complaints of any kind. That was about five years ago (ago) – that would mean that all this time Maiwenn wanted revenge.