Deauville Festival’s Artistic Director Bruno Barde Suspended in the Wake of Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Bruno Barde, the longtime artistic director of the Deauville American Film Festival, has been suspended in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations reported on June 13 in the French magazine Mediapart.

Hopscotch, the international communication group behind the Deauville Film Festival, preempted the publication of Mediapart’s investigative piece and released a statement saying they were suspending Barde immediately, and had hired an independent consultancy group to conduct an internal investigation. No formal police complaints have been filed against Barde, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

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The Mediapart article cites anonymous testimonies of seven former employees of the Public Systeme Cinema who report alleged acts of sexual misconduct that would have happened between 2014 and 2023. These include inappropriate comments and gestures such as an attempted kiss, and touching someone’s back and neck. Barde denies the accusations of sexual misconduct, but admits complimenting some employees, and having a “latin temperament.”

Along with serving as artistic director of the Deauville Film Festival, Barde has also been heading the Public Systeme Cinema, the film division of Hopscotch which organizes several festivals throughout the year, as well as handles French publicity for key international movies such as Jacques Audiard’s Cannes prizewinning “Emilia Perez” and David Cronenberg’s “The Shrouds.”

“Groupe Hopscotch was informed a few days ago via an investigative article conducted by a journalist from Mediapart, that people who had worked at Public Système Cinéma with its managing director Bruno Barde had witnessed or been victim of words or gestures that could be qualified of harassment characterized as sexual,” stated the banner in a statement sent to Variety. “The Group takes these testimonies very seriously and confirms that no signaling were transmitted to the human ressources team or those in charge of preventing harassment at the company.”

The group has appointed an interim leadership with Alexis Delage-Toriel, head of press relations and communication, and Jérôme Lasserre, head of programming. In spite of the internal investigation and leadership reshuffle, the lineup for the festival’s 50th edition will be unveiled as planned this summer.

Barde has been at the helm of the Deauville American Film Festival for 20 years, and has been film publicist for over 40 years. Last year, he was named Knight of the Legion of Honor, France’s most prestigious civilian award.

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