Perhaps you and Alastair are both right.
I quote from an article in Australia's "the age" website http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/2001/01/07/FFXKA4S5MHC.html
"Depardieu has never quite translated his talent to Hollywood. There was Green Card (1990),
which was successful, but not Depardieu at his best. He was on the brink of achieving mass popularity
in the United States with Cyrano de Bergerac (1990) which he cites as the one film of which he is most
proud and for which he was Oscar - nominated when his fortunes took a dramatic dive. Just before the
Academy Awards ceremony, Time magazine ran a profile that mistakenly suggested that he might have
"participated" in a rape at the age of nine. The claim was based on an interview carried out 13 years earlier
and was the result of an incorrect translation. Depardieu, though the clear favorite, did not win the Oscar."
The interview in question was with Richard Corliss. It doesn't seem impossible to imagine that Depardieu,
while discussing his admittedly wild youth, mentioned seeing ("assister a") a number of rapes, and Corliss
mistranslated this as "participated in." At any event, it seems more likely than the alternate explanation
that even someone who would go on to be a sex symbol as an adult would be physically mature enough
to commit rape at the age of 9.
Jim, thanks for that link.
This Depardieu got some press at the time, and the article I read was very clear.
The deal I read, he was shrugging his shoulders saying, "It was part of growing up,"
as tho rape was a thing that "happened," like missing a bus or breaking a nail..
I'm not looking to lead the charge for the "Let's lynch Depardieu"
I'm just saying I'm real sure what I read, and it was before the press turned total whore.