When Gerard Depardieu says “Non” he means it.
The Frenchman has declared that the decision by France’s Constitutional Court on Saturday to dismiss the new 75 per cent tax rate on France’s super-rich, “changes nothing.”
In a statement to Le Parisien on Sunday, referring to French president Francois Hollande’s stated intention to pursue the tax hike next fall, Depardieu said:
“We should let them talk.”
According to the Agence France-Presse (AFP), the actor is adamant that his much publicized — and nationally debated — move to Belgium is still part of his plans.
The Hollywood Reporter notes that the tax on income over €1 million ($1.3 million) was passed by France’s National Assembly in October, a move that angered many of France’s rich and famous including Depardieu.
A public war of words between Depardieu and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault ensued when Ayrault called the actor “pathetic” after Depardieu announced his intention to renounce his French citizenship and pursue residency in Belgium.
The film star countered with an open letter to Ayrault, first published in Le Journal du Dimanche, writing:
“I don’t ask to be approved, but I could at least be respected! All those who have left France have not been insulted as I have been.”
Numerous open letters and counter opinions followed, with some supporting the government’s position and others siding with Depardieu, said The Hollywood Reporter.
Actor Philippe Torreton published an article in Liberation, comparing Depardieu to a child. In response, Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Denueve went on record declaring their support for the Depardieu.
Denueve suggested that Torreton was jealous of Depardieu’s talent, and said that although she didn’t necessarily agree with his decision she defended his right to make it.
Depardieu is not alone is his anger at Hollande’s admininistration setting its sights on France’s big earners. Bernard Arnault, CEO of luxury giant LVMH has sought residency in Belgium, and actor Alain Delon has also left France for tax reasons.
The French court’s decision has been welcomed by the French Football League (LFP). Its chairman, Frederic Thiriez, said such a ruling could lead to an “exodus of the best players” in the team, AFP reports.
“The government will propose a new system that conforms with the principles laid down by the decision of the Constitutional Council,” said Ayrault.
He added, “we’re talking about the future of our employment, the future of the youth of this country. This is an effort we can ask of them. It is not a fiscal war, it is fiscal justice to help the recovery of our country.”
As for Depardieu, his 10-bedroom Parisian mansion remains on the market for €65 million ($49 million).