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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

French media personality Gérard Miller investigated over rape claims

Gérard Miller
Gérard Miller said he had ‘always assured myself of the consent of women that I spent time with’. Photograph: Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images

The French psychoanalyst and media personality Gérard Miller is being investigated by French prosecutors over allegations of rape and sexual assault, including of minors, as more women made claims in a documentary that he had sought to meet teenagers in the studio audiences of TV shows and invite them to his home.

Prosecutors launched an investigation after receiving six complaints against the 75-year-old of rape or assault between 1995 and 2005.

The accusations are the latest of a string made against powerful men in French film and television by women who were minors or in their late teens at the time of the alleged offence. The French #MeToo movement has gained momentum in recent months after the actor Judith Godrèche accused two directors, Benoît Jacquot and Jacques Doillon, of sexual assault while she was a teenager and made a plea to the industry to examine its attitudes. Both men have denied the allegations.

In a documentary, Envoyé Special, broadcast on France 2 television on Thursday night, one women alleged Miller had raped her and another made an assault allegation. Several women had previously spoken out to Elle magazine, which broke the story, and to the investigative website Mediapart.

Charlotte described in the documentary how one day when she was 15 she was walking with her best friend past a studio where a chatshow with Miller was being recorded and they were told the producers needed people for the audience. “We thought it would be fun,” she said. “And Gérard Miller particularly focused on me and my friend, took us to his dressing room. I didn’t feel a risk, he was a public personality. And a few days later he called me and said come to my office, we’ll have lunch.”

Once there, she said, he gave her a drink and she blacked out. She said she did not know how long she blacked out for but when she regained awareness “I was on my stomach and Gérard Miller was standing over me … my trousers were around my ankles.” She said when someone rang the doorbell she managed to dress and get to the door to leave. Prosecutors are investigating her allegations.

Another woman, Mathilde, said she was 19 when she went with a friend to be in the studio audience of a TV show and asked Miller for an autograph for her father. Miller, then in his 50s, invited her to see a show he was producing. She said he offered to show her how hypnosis worked. “It was as a trap closed around me,” she said in the documentary, and she has made a police complaint of rape.

Miller denies all of the allegations.

Writers from Elle magazine have said women first came forward to them after Miller appeared on a chatshow in January to discuss accusations of rape and sexual assault against the actor Gérard Depardieu, who denies those allegations.

Miller told the chatshow that #MeToo had been revolutionary and how proud he felt that French women were speaking out.

Upon seeing Miller praising #MeToo, the first woman came forward to Elle magazine, saying Miller had attempted to hypnotise and sexually assault her. In total, about 50 women contacted Elle magazine and Mediapart to describe what one called “a well-oiled predatory system” under which he targeted teenage girls and young women. Some of those women alleged he had assaulted or raped them.

In a written response to France 2 on Thursday night, Miller denied the allegations. “I have always assured myself of the consent of women that I spent time with, and I refute in the most categorical way any allegation of sexual assault, and particularly any allegation of rape,” he said.

“I have never practised hypnosis, neither in my office with patients nor more generally at home. Never. It was always simple conversations and playful moments of recreation. Those who accepted were absolutely not hypnotised and stayed perfectly conscious, able to interrupt the game at any instant.”

On allegations by some women that they blacked out, Miller said in the statement: “No one has ever found themselves in my home incapable of reacting, not after drinking anything, or in any other circumstance.”

He added: “I would never have imagined that meeting me at one moment or another of their life would have given women such negative memories and that their memories and mine could differ to this extent.”

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