Maïwenn Assaulted Journalist After Feeling ‘Morally Violated’ by Allegations Against Ex-Husband Luc Besson

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

Maïwenn confirmed earlier this year that she did in fact pull Plenel’s hair and spit in his face at a Paris restaurant; Plenel filed a police report March 7 alleging the incident took place in late February. The writer/director/actress, née Maïwenn Le Besco, told French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche (via Screen Daily) that the encounter with Plenel stemmed from her feeling “morally violated” that Mediapart published rape allegations against her ex-husband, director Luc Besson, without notifying her.

“I don’t blame Mediapart for their investigations into Luc Besson; I blame them for what they have done to me,” she said. “It was a cataclysm. I felt morally violated. There’s no justification for attacking a journalist, but there’s no justification for violating a woman’s intimacy and trust.”

Per Maïwenn, she met with a Mediapart journalist in late 2018 for an off-the-record conversation. Maïwenn also testified during actress Sand Van Roy’s investigation in June 2020 on the order of the court. The case against Besson was dismissed in 2021 after an investigation.

Yet in early 2021, Paris Match and Mediapart published excerpts from Maïwenn’s testimony without notifying her, despite Mediapart previously promising to give her 48 hours’ notice for the sake of her daughter with Besson. Maïwenn filed a civil suit against Paris Match and lost; she opted to not file a claim against Mediapart.

Maïwenn was married to Besson in 1992; she was 16 years old when they wed. The “Léon, the Professional” director knew Maïwenn since she was age 12, and the couple began dating when the actress was 15 years old. The couple divorced in 1997.

Mediapart editor-in-chief Plenel asked for an apology from Maïwenn over the encounter. However, Maïwenn said she “proposed a discussion” instead. “He doesn’t want to discuss, or try to understand, he just wants me to bow down,” she said of Plenel.

While her film garnered backlash for casting controversial figure Johnny Depp in the lead male role for “Jeanne du Barry,” Maïwenn responded to criticisms, saying, “I’ve been making films for the past 17 years, against a backdrop of women fighting for respect. We can’t reduce everything to the Johnny Depp controversy and turn the few nuances I’m trying to introduce into the debate against me and my films.”

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

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

Plenel said at the time, “We published what [Maïwenn] told police as part of the investigation into Besson. When she talked to the police, she discussed complicated aspects of her relationship with Luc Besson, notably during their separation. But once we published our piece, we never received any protest of any kind. That was about five years [ago] — that would mean that for all this time, Maiwenn wanted to take her revenge.”

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