France targets sexual harassment with on-the-spot fines

PARIS, March 21 (Reuters) - France announced a series of measures against sexual violence on Wednesday, including on-the-spot fines for sexual harassment on the street and extended deadlines for filing rape complaints.

President Emmanuel Macron has said the bill is meant to ensure "women are not afraid to be outside," after a wave of sexual assault allegations leveled against men in the public eye around the world triggered a protest movement online.

Under the legislation, which still needs to be approved by parliament, under-age victims of rape will have until they are aged 48 to file a complaint, taking the deadline to 30 years after they turn 18, from 20 now.

The law will also set an age - 15 - under which one will be presumed not to have agreed to having sex with someone aged 18 or more. This age of consent will facilitate rape prosecutions, Gender Equality Minister Marlene Schiappa said.

Together with the age of consent, one of the most eye-catching aspects of the bill, whose main points have been publicly debated over the past few months, has been the plan to punish sexual harassment on the street with fines.

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Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, arrives on stage with his wife Brigitte Trogneux to deliver a speech at the Parc des Expositions hall in Paris after early results in the first round of 2017 French presidential election, France, April 23, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Emmanuel Macron (L), head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux stand together at a polling station to vote in Le Touquet, northern France, April 23, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Feferberg/Pool
Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche! (Onwards!) and candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux pose for the photograph in Le Touquet, France, April 22, 2017, on the eve of the first round of presidential election. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election, kisses his wife Brigitte Trogneux as he arrives on stage to deliver a speech at the Parc des Expositions hall in Paris after early results in the first round of 2017 French presidential election, France, April 23, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche ! (Onwards !) and candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux pose during a lunch break as part of a campaign visit in Bagneres de Bigorre, in the Pyrenees mountain, France, April 12, 2017. Picture taken April 12, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Feferberg/Pool
Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche!, or Onwards!, and candidate for the 2017 French presidential election and his wife Brigitte Trogneux pose in countryside in Le Touquet, France, on the eve of France's first round of the Presidential election, April 22, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement 'En Marche!', or 'Onwards!', and candidate for the 2017 presidential election, kisses his wife Brigitte Trogneux as they attend a meeting for Women's Day in Paris, France, March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
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French presidential election candidate for the En Marche ! movement Emmanuel Macron (L) and his wife Brigitte Trogneux react during a meeting at the Parc des Expositions in Paris, on April 23, 2017, after the first round of the Presidential election. / AFP PHOTO / Patrick KOVARIK (Photo credit should read PATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/Getty Images)
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PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 17: Brigitte Trogneux (C) attends a meeting of her husband Emmanuel Macron (not pictured), Founder and Leader of the political movement 'En Marche !' and candidate for the 2017 French Presidential Election at AccorHotels Arena (named before Paris Bercy) on April 17, 2017 in Paris, France. France will go to the polls on April 23 to decide their next President. (Photo by Christophe Morin/IP3/Getty Images)
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Schiappa said the fines, to be paid on the spot by offenders, would range from 90 euros to 750 euros ($110 to $920). They could reach 1,500 euros in the case of aggravating circumstances and 3,000 euros for repeat offenders.

"It is crucial that the laws of the republic make it clear that it is not allowed to harass or intimidate women ... whether in the public space, on public transport or online," Schiappa told a news conference. "There can be no lawless zones."

The law has wide popular backing, an Ifop opinion poll showed.

Ninety-two percent of those surveyed agreed with extending the statute of limitations, 90 percent backed punishing harassment on the streets and 69 percent supported setting at 15 the age for sexual consent, the poll carried out on March 1 and 2 for viehealthy.com website showed.

However, critics, including actress Catherine Deneuve, have either questioned how the law could be applied or mocked it as an end to French romance.

Responding to such criticism, Schiappa told Reuters last year: "There is some reluctance, some say we will kill the culture of the 'French lover' if we punish street harassment."

"But it's the opposite. We want to preserve seduction, chivalry and 'l'amour à la francaise' by saying what is key is consent. Between consenting adults everything is allowed, we can seduce, talk, but if someone says 'no', it's 'no' and it's final," she said.

Schiappa has said street harassment would cover situations such as asking a woman for her phone number a dozen times when she has made clear she is not interested.

The bill will also introduce tougher sanctions for group harassment online by making clear that every single person that is taking part will have to answer for it, even if they just sent a few tweets, Schiappa said. ($1 = 0.8161 euros) (Writing by Ingrid Melander Editing by Alison Williams)

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Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting or harassing dozens of women, including a number of well-known celebrities, over the past several decades.

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Matt Lauer was fired from 'Today' after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct that allegedly included giving a co-worker a sex toy and dropping his pants in front of a female employee in his office.

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Actor Jeffrey Tambor has been accused of sexual assault by two women from the Amazon series, "Transparent."  

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Eleven women have come forward accusing President Donald Trump of unwanted touching or kissing. Trump has called the sexual harassment claims 'fake news.'

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Sen. Al Franken is accused of kissing and groping a woman without her consent during a United Service Organizations (USO) tour in 2006.

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Director Woody Allen has been accused of sexual assault by his daughter, Dylan Farrow. She says she experienced inappropriate behavior by her adoptive father on several occasions.

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Hundreds of women accused longtime Hollywood writer and director James Toback of sexual harassment.

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Comedian Louis C.K. has been accused of forcing women to watch him masturbate, according to the New York Times.

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Director Bret Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment by several women, including actresses Olivia Munn and Natasha Henstridge.

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Actor Anthony Rapp accused Kevin Spacey of making a sexual advance towards him when he was 14 years old.

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Roger Ailes, the former president of Fox News Channel, was accused of sexually harassing former anchor Gretchen Carlson and several other women from the network.

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Several women accused TV host Charlie Rose of sexual misconduct, including groping and lewd phone calls.

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Bill Cosby has faced sexual assault allegations from about 60 women, including several women who claim he drugged them.

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Four women, including several that were also fellow Scientologists, have accused actor Danny Masterson of sexual assault, according to HuffPost.

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Roy Moore faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underaged girls.

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Bill Clinton faced numerous allegations of sexual assault and misconduct while he was president of the United States, with accusers including Juanita Broaddrick, who accused him of rape, Kathleen Willey who said he groped her and Paula Jones who said he exposed himself to her without consent.

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Actor Casey Affleck settled lawsuits out of court wth two women who accused him of sexual harassment.  

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Bill O'Reilly has reportedly made numerous settlements with women who accused him of sexual harassment.

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Anthony Weiner, a former Democratic congressman was sentenced to 21 months in prison in September 2017 after pleading guilty to sexting a teenage girl.

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Singer R. Kelly is accused of holding women against their will in houses in Illinois and Georgia in a reported 'sex cult.'

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Director Roman Polanski fled the US after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Several other women have also come forward to accuse him of sexual assault.

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Photographer Terry Richardson was labeled the 'Harvey Weinstein of Fashion' by the Sunday Times amid widespread accusations of sexual harassment by models.

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Former champion boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping a Miss Black America contestant in 1992. 

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Music mogul L.A. Reid left his position as Epic Records CEO/Chairman in 2017 amid harassment claims by a female assistant.

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Amazon Studios chief Roy Price resigned following reports that he harassed a producer and ignored an actress' allegation of sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein.

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Several women have accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping them during photo ops.

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Actor Steven Seagal was accused of sexual misconduct by Inside Edition's chief investigative correspondent Lisa Guerrero.

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Michael Oreskes, senior vice president of news and editorial director of National Public Radio, was accused of inappropriate conduct with two women in 1990s.

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Dustin Hoffman was accused of sexually harassing a production assistant when he was 48 and she was a high school senior.

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Jeremy Piven was accused by actress Ariane Bellamar of groping her on two separate occasions. Piven 'unequivocally' denied the allegations.

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Ben Affleck apologized for acting 'inappropriately' towards Hilarie Burton during an appearance on MTV's "Total Request Live" in 2003.

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Aziz Ansari was accused of sexual misconduct by a woman he went on a date with.

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Andy Dick was accused of sexual harassment and misconduct on set, including groping people’s genitals, unwanted kissing/licking and sexual propositions.

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Actor Ed Westwick was accused by actress Kristina Cohen of raping her in his home.

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David Guillod, producer of 'Atomic Blonde,' is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several woman.

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Andrew Kreisberg, the showrunner for "Supergirl," was suspended in November 2017 amid numerous sexual harassment allegations by members of his staff.

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Steve Jurvetson left his own venture capital firm after allegations of sexual harassment

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A former model accused George Takei of sexually assaulting him 36 years ago.

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Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo accused former FIFA president Sepp Blatter of sexually assaulted her at an award ceremony in 2013.

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A former writer for 'Mad Men' said the show's creator Matthew Weiner told her that she owed it to him to let him see her naked.

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Ron Jeremy has been accused of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women and the allegations span more than 30 years.

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Multiple women accused producer Adam Fields of touching them inappropriately and sexually propositioning them.

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Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been accused of unwanted sexual advances by former staffers.

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John Lasseter, the head of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, was accused of crossing the line with employees, including unwanted hugs.

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Singer Nick Carter was accused of rape by a former member of the all-girl teen band Dream, Melissa Schuman.

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A singer accused billionaire Richard Branson of sexual assault during an event as his Necker Island in the Caribbean. Branson says he has no recollection of the matter.

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Talent agent Adam Venit is accused of grabbing actor Terry Crews' genitals.

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Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez), Marilyn Manson former longtime bassist, was accused of rape by singer Jessicka Addams.

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Lockhart Steele, Vox Media's editorial director was fired after a former employee accused him of sexual harassment.

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Jesse Lacey of  the band, Brand New, was accused of sexual misconduct, including soliciting nude photos from a teen girl in the past.

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Senior Correspondent for E! News Ken Baker California was accused of sexual harassment by two women.

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American film director Oliver Stone was accused of groping model and actress Carrie Stevens in the 1990s.

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CNN producer Teddy Davis was fired after multiple accusations of harassment.

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Longtime conductor James Levine was suspended by New York's Metropolitan Opera after sexual abuse claims.

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Dylan Howard, editor in chief of the National Enquirer, was accused of sexual misconduct by several former employees, including forcing them to watch porn and openly discussing his sexual partners.

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"X-Men" director Bryan Singer was accused of raping a 17-year-old boy on a yacht in a lawsuit filed in December.

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PBS talk show host Tavis Smiley's show was suspended amid misconduct allegations made against him.

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Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb was fired from his job as an ESPN contributor amid accusations of sexual harassment by a wardrobe stylist at the network.

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Sen. Jeff Klein (D-New York), was accused of forcibly kissing a former female staffer back in 2015. 

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Ross Levinsohn, Los Angeles Times CEO and publisher, has reportedly been a defendant in two sexual harassment lawsuits and would rate the "hotness" of his female colleagues, according to a report by NPR.

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A woman accused magician David Copperfield of drugging, sexually assaulting her when she was teen model in the 80s, according to The Wrap.

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James Franco was accused by several women of sexually inappropriate behavior. He was also criticized for wearing a "Time's Up" pin to the Golden Globes hours before the accusations against him surfaced.

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Barry Lubin, also known as Grandma the clown, resigned from Big Apple Circus after admitting to pressuring a 16-year-old girl into posing for pornographic photos in 2004.

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Arizona Wildcats head football coach Rich Rodriguez was fired amid troubling off-field allegations. His former administrative assistant says Rodriguez inappropriately grabbed and touched her. 

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Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of peple. The Wall Street Journal the casino mogul regularly pressured employees to perform sex acts.

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Several women filed sexual harassment complaints against Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle, according to the Washington Post.

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Actor Scott Baio, was accused of molesting is former 'Charles in Charge' co-star Nicole Eggert when she was a minor.

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