Jeanne du Barry director Maïwenn has been hit with a €400 (£344) fine for spitting on a French journalist last February ahead of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
Last year, the French filmmaker, 47, who directed the Johnny Depp-starring biographical drama about the life of Louis XV and his mistress, Jeanne, made headlines after Médiapart magazine editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel filed a police report accusing Maïwenn of assault.
On Tuesday (16 January), nearly a year after the incident, a Paris court ordered Maïwenn to pay a fine of €400 for “voluntary violence without interruption of work”, according to local newswire FranceInfo. She was also sentenced to pay €1 in moral damages to the founder of Médiapart, as well as €1,500 in moral damages to Médiapart.
According to Plenel, he was dining alone when Maïwenn, who had been seated nearby, allegedly grabbed him by the hair and spit in his face before promptly leaving the restaurant. In his complaint, he had said he was left “traumatised by the incident”.
During the trial, FranceInfo reported that Maïwenn refused to apologise for her actions. “I do not apologise and I do not regret,” she said from the stand. “No violent gesture could have compensated for what I experienced. My behaviour does not match the upheaval that it was in my life, what Médiapart did to me.”
Before the trial, Maïwenn had, on several occasions, admitted to committing the offensive act, even hinting that one day she would explain why she did it.
In a July 2023 column for Journal du Dimanche, she claimed to have attacked Plenel for his reporting on the rape and sexual assault allegations against her ex-husband Luc Besson, whom she married when she was 16.
“I don’t blame Médiapart for the investigations they carried out concerning Luc Besson. I blame them for what they did to me,” she wrote, adding that she felt she had been subjected to a “moral rape”.
Speaking to Variety in May, Plenel said: “I don’t know Maïwenn, I never met her. I would have been unable to recognise her.
“This aggression caused more stupor than anything else. She didn’t aggress me individually, but the symbol that I represent, as the founder and director of a journal, which in France, has been at the forefront of all the #MeToo revelations.”
Jeanne du Barry marked Depp’s first lead role since winning his high-profile defamation trial against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, in 2022.
Following the film’s world premiere at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, it received mixed reviews from critics, with some suggesting that it wasn’t quite the comeback Depp was hoping for.