CANNES, France – Dominique Strauss-Kahn says he will sue director Abel Ferrara for defamation over the movie “Welcome to New York,” which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival on Saturday.
The Agence France-Presse said Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Jean Veil called the movie, inspired by the sexual assault charges levied against Strauss-Kahn by a hotel maid in the United States in 2011, a piece of sh**.”
Ferrara told Reuters, “I’m not on trial. I’m an artist, I have freedom of speech. I’m from America.”
One of the producers of the film, Vincent Maraval, said in a press conference that filing a lawsuit “is their right,” but was not worried about it.
“We made the film under American law,” he said.
Strauss-Kahn’s wife Anne Sinclair, the editor of the French Huffington Post, said the movie was “degrading and defamatory” in a blog post on the website.
“Welcome to New York” chronicles an unrepentant sex addict who handles billions of dollars a day and commits a sexual assault on a hotel maid following an orgy. The Strauss-Kahn character in the film is called Mr. Deveraux and played by Gerard Depardieu, who recently changed his citizenship from French to Russian to avoid his native country’s high tax rate. His wife in the movie is played by Jacqueline Bisset.
The movie was not shown in the official festival this year, which many took as a snub.
“They’ve got 35 other movies they would rather show. Show it. They own the festival, we got the street. You know, rent a theater, put it in a theater, see who’s where, you know. It’s not that important,” Ferrara said. “We are here with everybody else.”
Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, was accused of sexually assaulting a New York hotel employee. Charges were dropped and he reached an out-of-court settlement with the woman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.