FRENCH feminists have denounced an open letter signed by film star Catherine Deneuve that said men are being unfairly targeted by sexual misconduct allegations and should be free to hit on women.

In a text published on the Franceinfotv website on Wednesday, feminist Caroline De Haas and over 30 activists strongly criticised the letter.

“This letter, it’s a bit like the awkward work colleague or annoying uncle who doesn’t understand what’s happening,” they said.

They argued Deneuve and other signatories are using media exposure to make sexual violence appear “normal”. Deneuve was among about 100 performers, scholars and others who signed an open letter on Tuesday published by the newspaper Le Monde.

It said the “legitimate protest against sexual violence” stemming from the Harvey Weinstein scandal has gone too far and threatens hard-won sexual freedoms.

Marlene Schiappa, France’s junior minister for women’s rights, speaking to France Culture radio, voiced her concerns about the letter signed by Deneuve. She said: “There are in this open letter some things that are deeply offensive and false.”