Depardieu to Hand in His French Passport, Declares 'I remain a free man'


Who you calling "pathetic"?

As flagged on Reason 24/7, the showdown between beloved French actor Gerard Depardieu and his country's newly elected Socialist government over tax rates and residency has reached the I-break-with-thee phase.

French star Gerard Depardieu has upped the ante in his tax battle with the government of French President Francois Hollande, threatening to hand back his French passport in protest. […]

Depardieu's move to the small Belgian town of Nechin, within walking distance of the French border, has been roundly criticized in the French media. Prime Minister [Jean-Marc] Ayrault called his decision to move "shabby," "pathetic" and unpatriotic at a time of austerity programs.

Fulfilled the Prisoner image-quota for another month!

"Pathetic, you say? Pathetic!" Depardieu's letter to Ayrault begins, before the actor claims he has paid "$190 million (€145 million)" to the French state in taxes over the past 45 years and that he employs 85 people. "I do not mean to complain or brag but I refuse to be called 'pathetic,'" Depardieu writes.

Before dropping the mic, Depardieu saved his best line for last:

Who are you to judge me, I ask you Mr Ayrault, prime minister of Mr Hollande? Despite my excesses, my appetite and my love of life, I remain a free man.

Of course, American politicians are no strangers to shaming citizens who dare turn in their passports.

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  1. Who would have ever predicted that the wealthy and productive would chafe under the redistributive State and move out of its grasp?

    1. Inconceivable!

    2. The wealthy and productive should be loyal to the state of their birth. They owe it their unquestioning patriotism, their lives, their property, and any jailbait daughters they may have. To suggest that the rich should be able to move to another country is to suggest that countries might “compete” with each other, and that countries might not be able to sustain a social welfare state which is vastly more expensive than that of neighboring countries’. How dare you.

  2. Inconceivable!

    (Fuck you, squirrels!)

    1. Shit. I P Brooks’d that comment. It was supposed to be in reply to Hugh.

  3. So as we all anticipate being dragged to endure 2.5+ hours of Les Miserables, we have to ask ourselves a serious question: aside from Msr. Depardieu, have the French ever produced anything of value to civilization?

    1. Heavy cavalry. No, really. The first use of heavy cavalry featuring stirrups so that men could have enough leverage to use a lance from horseback was under the direction of a Frenchman.

      Also, sabotage.

      1. Well really they just invented the name for sabotage.

        Then again, there are at least two good songs that make use of it, so I’ll allow it.

        Also Francoise Hardy and Audrey Tautou. And French Dressing. I mean I don’t like it now, but I think it was 90% of my calorie intake from age 5-8.

        1. And Catherine Deneuve.

          1. Bridgette Bardot.



            More than enough justification for any country, IMO.

            1. Bordeaux, C?tes du Rh?ne, etc.

        2. The plot of Better Off Dead.

          1. Finally an answer to my question.

      2. I guess you could say Charles Martel was French, but Frankish is more accurate.

        1. Other than Napoleon, the last Frog that could really kick some ass.

    2. wine? dont know if they invented it, but damn is it tasty.

    3. They used to make the only drinkable wine. Now, of course, you can get wine from, say, Nebraska, that’s just a good.

      1. Once upon a time the French told the world that no one could make wine as good as the French. And so no one tried. Then one day someone who couldn’t understand the outrageous French accent went ahead and made a good wine, and the world changed.

        Now you can get wine better than the French from Australia of all places.

    4. Wine and food for a start. France is a great place, beautiful with fabulous food. Beyond that, David, Monet, Manet, and about a thousand other real artists, back in the days when such a thing exists. They also built one of the most beautiful cities on earth.

      Then there is Albert Camus, Louis Pasteur and a few others.

      1. I’m sorry Albert Camus is a useless Piece of Shit and I’m reasonably certain his book the Stranger is directly responsible for about half the teenaged suicides in this country.

        1. I’m reasonably certain his book the Stranger is directly responsible for about half the teenaged suicides in this country.

          Do tell.

          1. Do tell why you think that’s a bad thing.

        2. That would be a bit strange for someone who thought:

          “For Camus, suicide was the rejection of freedom. He thinks that fleeing from the absurdity of reality into illusions, religion or death is not the way out. Instead of fleeing the absurd meaninglessness of life, we should embrace life passionately.”

      2. France would be so much more beautiful and awesome if it weren’t for all the French people.

        1. Having been there numerous times, I don’t get the hatred for French people. I find them to be quite pleasant. A lot more pleasant than the typical douchebag you find in Washington or New York.

          1. I’ll take Parisians over Washingtonians every day of the year.

            Paris has wine, food, decent people, nice architecture, and socialism. Washington has socialism and none of the rest.

          2. It really depends on where you go. My best friend went there a couple years ago, and while he didn’t have much fondness for the Parisians or people in the larger cities in general, he got along great with the French in the northern regions. In Normandy, they absolutely love Americans, for obvious reasons.

            1. my friend had the same experience when his wife went to teach English there for a year. The provinces are pleasant in comparison to Paris.

            2. all of the french people that i know don’t even like parisians.

          3. My experience has been the complete opposite. I have only met a couple of Frenchies I found pleasant and friendly. And I did a summer exchange program in France, so that’s saying something. That also doesn’t mean the people in DC and NYC aren’t also complete dickwads also.

        2. France would be so much more beautiful and awesome if it weren’t for all the French people.

          See also: California

    5. French food is pretty good. I like the Tour de France, but I get the feeling plenty of you will argue that one.

      Other than that, nope.

      1. And the A380. That’s a neat little airplane.

    6. Why of course they have.

      See France has served as sort of a canary in the coal mine for England. Every time Germany gets uppity they invade France which reminds England that it is time to lay another smackdown on their Teutonic cousins.

      Without France in the way Germany might well have caught England unawares and then where would we be?

      1. Moar bierbrats, less blood sausage.

    7. Jean Girard: We invented democracy, existentialism, and the M?nage ? Trois.
      Cal Naughton, Jr.: Those are three pretty good things.
      Ricky Bobby: Hey.
      Cal Naughton, Jr.: Well that last one’s pretty cool.

      1. They’re claiming democracy as their invention? Like most things that will fuck you in the ass, the Greeks did it first.

    8. Charles Martel.

      1. Bastiat

        1. Victor Hugo

        2. Add Flaubert to that list. Madame Bovary was literary magnificence.

    9. Foie gras

    10. How is it you guys get dragged to chick flicks? Don’t your wives and girlfriends have girlfriends for that sort of thing?

    11. Have you seen Eyes Without a Face?

      (No Billy Idol references, please.)

    12. have the French ever produced anything of value to civilization?

      They chopped off the heads of their aristocracy.

      You think the French are annoying now…imagine them with Kings.

  4. Oh and Welch, nice alt text but up the quota

  5. My absolute favorite quotes from the Depardieu saga are these:

    Ministers in the French government were quick to react to the publication of the letter. Labor Minister Michel Sapin said in a radio interview on Europe 1 there is “nothing more normal” than for those that earn a lot of money to pay a lot of tax.

    Separately, culture and communication minister Aurelie Filippetti said in a telephone interview with news channel i- Tele: “We shouldn’t be receiving moral lessons from people who abandon the battlefield when we need everyone to be mobilized.

    And people say Ayn Rand peddled in cardboard caricatures.

    1. There is “nothing more normal” than for those that earn a lot of money to and pay a lot of tax to depart for greener pastures.

      We shouldn’t be receiving moral lessons from people who abandon the battlefield when we need everyone to be mobilized.

      She apparently doesn’t understand that, by leaving, Mr. Depardieu is not only fighting the battle, but winning his little piece of it.

      1. Man French politicians are a goldmine:

        “I find it quite pathetic,” Ayrault had said. “Everyone loves him as an artist but paying your taxes is an act of solidarity and patriotism.”

        Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti said she was “shocked” by Depardieu’s latest remarks.

        She accused Depardieu of “deserting the battlefield in the war against the crisis”.

      2. If everyone needs to be “mobilized”, then why aren’t they raising taxes on everyone across the board?

        I’m loving this expiration of the Bush tax cuts, because it forces the left to concede that the tax cuts weren’t just “for the wealthy”.

        1. Well, it follows logically that the tax cuts couldn’t have just been for the wealthy, but I’m pretty sure you won’t find any of them “conceding” anything.

    2. That second statement is the most telling–Hoover employed a great deal of martial and sports-oriented rhetoric on the economy as it was circling down the drain.

      These people seem to know their 20th-century welfare state economy is teetering on the verge of implosion, and are flailing about desperately trying to keep it from collapsing. It’s one thing to have a 75% (0r 95%) tax rate when the bureaucracy is small and the economy is roaring; it’s something else entirely when the bureaucracy has reached “bloat” stage and unemployment is in double-digits.

      1. Apparently Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” are going to destroy the middle class if they are allowed to expire, and this is somehow proof that the Republicans hate the middle class and poor people.

  6. Depardieu was great in Jean De Florette

    The followup, Manon of the Spring, had Emmanuelle B?art who wins an “awesome bod” award.

    1. Those were some good movies. And I love that they got lampooned on the Simpsons.

    2. “Cyrano” was suprb, too. I’m a beef-witted engineer, and that movie had me loathing myslf because I’m not a poet.

  7. She accused Depardieu of “deserting the battlefield in the war against the crisis”.

    And likely wishes she could have him shot for it.

  8. I was on a Yahoo story comment thread on this last night, and was agape that there were people who actually defended GD having to pay 85% of his gross income to the rapacious State. One character was particularly horrid, a loathsome bastard offspring of Karl Marx and Pat Buchanan.

    There are some seriously fucked-up people in the world.

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