PARIS • A top award should not be given to a man who beats women, critics fume.
The Cannes film festival has come under pressure to withdraw an honorary Palme d'Or it is to award veteran French star Alain Delon because of his alleged violence towards women.
Last year, the world's biggest film festival, whose 2019 edition opened yesterday, vowed that there "must be zero tolerance with sexual harassment" amid red carpet protests led by actress Cate Blanchett of more than 80 Hollywood stars and women directors.
Lobby group Women And Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein said Delon "has publicly admitted to slapping women".
Delon, 83, made the confession last November when he was questioned on French television about claims of domestic violence from estranged son Alain-Fabien.
"If a slap is macho, then I am macho," he said.
His son said the star of screen classics, such as The Leopard (1963) and Le Samourai (1967), beat his mother, breaking eight ribs and her nose twice.
His other son, Anthony, posted this month to confirm that he was locked in a cage with dogs by his father "to toughen me up" when he was a child.
But Cannes director Thierry Fremaux came to Delon's defence on Monday, saying "it's complicated to judge someone through today's lens and judge things that were said and that happened years ago".
"We're not giving him the Nobel Peace Prize."
On Monday, the festival unveiled a huge poster of a youthful Delon, which will be draped above the red carpet on Sunday, when he receives the honour.
It pictures the actor in his breakthrough 1960 film, Purple Noon, in which he plays a devastatingly handsome serial killer.