Gérard Depardieu Rejects His French Passport

Gérard Depardieu is one of the greatest actors of the XXth century. Hollywood in its entirety has less talent than Depardieu’s toenail. So it is understandable that the great actor got offended when Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s Prime Minister, referred to him as pathetic. Ayraults and Hollandes come and go, yet Depardieu’s amazing talent will keep making France proud for decades to come. 

This entire scandal happened when Depardieu declared that he was fed up with having to pay 85% in taxes and was moving to Belgium. In response, Ayrault, who has deluded himself into thinking that he and Hollande are more valuable to France than people of Depardieu’s caliber, has insulted the actor.

I happen to agree with Depardieu that 85% taxation rate is nothing short of robbery. This is not what interests me the most about the story, however. It is a lot more curious to observe the gall of some dime-a-dozen politicians who consider themselves entitled to judge who is and who isn’t French enough. It’s a good thing that Molière, Racine, and Balzac are dead. We can’t guess what their response to Hollande’s tax plan would be and it isn’t like France is in a good position to reject its entire pantheon of great artists at this point when it isn’t producing any new ones.

If you are a speaker of French, read Depardieu’s letter to Ayrault here.

40 thoughts on “Gérard Depardieu Rejects His French Passport”

    1. Pushkin was a total jerk, Lope de Vega was a loser, Tsvetaeva was a horrible mother, Tolstoy was a really bad husband and a miserable father, Dostoyevsky was a woman-hater and a gambler. Yet centuries go by and humanity remembers them, not the folks who passed some silly legislation while the artists were alive, right?

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  1. “Je trouve minable l’acharnement de la justice contre mon fils Guillaume jugé par des juges qui l’ont condamné tout gosse à trois ans de prison ferme pour 2 grammes d’héroïne, quand tant d’autres échappaient à la prison pour des faits autrement plus graves.”

    Here comes the real topic, the main thing behing his expatriation…

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  2. Francois Hollande is a socialist cretin. And the French majority is equally cretinous in electing him into office. A democracy gets the government it deserves. And in the case of France that says a great deal about the low quality of its citizens. Head for those borders anyone worth a centime!

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    1. As someone who has lived in France for the last few years and who has been more than grateful for the election of Hollande over Sarkozy I refuse your categorization of French people as “low quality”. What does that even mean? I am generally the first to criticize the French for all sorts of things, but their political activism, consciousness and debate culture is remarkable. And Hollande is surely not the best president in the world, but at least he’s not pandering to the far right or maintaining that austerity is Europe’s only way to go.

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      1. “And Hollande is surely not the best president in the world, but at least he’s not pandering to the far right or maintaining that austerity is Europe’s only way to go.”

        Not officially, but his actions are a form of an auterity regime. And to tax more and more workers for less public services and to pay other’s unrefundable debts is unacceptable.

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  3. “As a statutory rate, its is completely and utterly wrong. Why should people be forced to hand be at the mercy of accountants and bureaucrats?”

    This the same thing for all French workers. The statutory rate is hight because the real rate is low (even though all taxes are unacceptable).

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  4. I don’t blame Gerard Depardieu being so angry at being insulted so. Did Ayrault call him something else besides “minable”? The letter suggests that Ayrault attacked his patriotism because he seems to go on to defend it at length.

    [off topic]
    I don’t know how this speaks of my French skills, but I was able to read the article (slowly) and was able to understand it along with the tenses without consulting a dictionary. Then for fun I ran it through Google translate, and found that they missed several very obvious words. FWIW, I have not taken a French class or actively spoken it for about 12 years.

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  5. I’m for Hollande over Sarkozy but what a great letter! French is an incredibly fun language and wonderful characters speak French, what can I say.

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  6. “Je pars, après avoir payé, en 2012, 85% d’impôt sur mes revenus. Mais je conserve l’esprit de cette France qui était belle et qui, j’espère, le restera.”

    What kind of France is he talking about? This spirit is so vague. I have already heard enough French people complaining about their vieille france long gone.

    One Depardieu movie I would bring on a desert island? La chèvre or Les fugitifs? It is hard to choose.

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    1. What kind of France is he talking about? This spirit is so vague. I have already heard enough French people complaining about their vieille france long gone.(OI)

      It almost reminds you of the “pure laine” bullshit you hear from some Quebecois. 😉

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  7. Myth of nationalism, yes, and I think it applies to more than nations. The mythical origin before a war, before a crisis, before Babel, before eating the apple, etc.

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  8. If I may offer some explanations here: Dépardieu (who never showed any proof or explication of how he calculated his supposed tax rate) is lying, explicitly and by omission.
    a) He makes money not only from movies (which is considered his “income”), but also from several restaurants and other businesses in which he has a stake (which as capital revenue is taxed differently). Thus, if he makes for instance 2 million euros from a movie and 5 milion from his restaurants and pays 1.7 mio in tax (I made up those numbers for the example), he is not actually paying 85% in tax on his revenue…
    b) In France, taxes are payed one year late (november 2012 for the 2011 tax declaration). So lets assume Dépardieu made a lot of money in 2011 and a bit less in 2012 – if he divides his taxes (for 2011) by his income (for 2012) it might be indeed 85% – but calculating this way is at best dishonest.
    c) There is a constitutional article stating that no one can pay more than 75% of their income in taxes (the so-called “bouclier fiscal” – this article concerns mostly very very rich people living off capital revenue with little official “income”), so he’s lying anyway.

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  9. And now Depardieu visited Russia and praised Poutine and the great Russian democracy. Somewhat reminiscent of western European artists and intellectuals praising Stalin during their trip to the USSR.

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