French star Gerard Depardieu to quit France due to tax hike; Brigitte Bardot may follow his move to defend elephants
Two most famous French stars, cultural icons, are indeed very much French - they act on passion. Brigitte Bardot is determined to defend elephants (population shockingly dropped from 13,000,000 to 400,000 within 20 years) while Gerard Depardieu is extremely upset that 85% of his hard-earned money is not his: "I will neither complain nor brag, but I refuse to be called 'pathetic'". Per Daily Mail UK - 'Over 45 years, Depardieu has paid €145million euros' since he started working at age 14 as a printer. [Guardian UK] In protest not at tax hikes but at treatment of elephants, Brigitte Bardot threatens to follow Gérard Depardieu's move to quit France.
In 1979 there were 1.3m African elephants, but recent counts suggest there are now just 400,000. Brigitte Bardot threatens to spurn France, embrace Russia if 2 elephants killed - Famed French actress and animal rights campaigner Brigitte Bardot will request Russian nationality Friday if plans to euthanize elephants at a zoo in the French city of Lyon go ahead, her foundation said. The move comes a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Russian citizenship to French actor Gerard Depardieu, who was angry about French plans to raise taxes.
French actor Gerard Depardieu has been granted Russian citizenship after a very public war with the leaders of his country over high taxes on the rich - France to tax 75 percent of earnings over €1million from January 2013. In an angry letter, published in Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper, Depardieu wrote: 'I was born in 1948. I started working aged 14, as a printer, as a warehouseman, then as an actor, and I’ve always paid my taxes.' Over 45 years, Depardieu said, he had paid €145million euros in tax, and to this day employs 80 people. Last year he paid taxes amounting to 85 percent of his income.
Depardieu is furious at French president Francois Hollande's attempt to raise taxes on the mega-rich to 75%. Russia has a flat income tax of 13%.
At the time, it seemed like a joke - President Putin of Russia, at his annual news conference before more than 1,000 journalists last month, declared with a mixture of braggadocio and magnanimity that if one of the world’s best-known Frenchmen, the actor Gérard Depardieu, really wanted to renounce his French citizenship, he would find the doors to Russia wide open — with a residency permit and Russian citizenship his for the asking. And on January 4 2013, Thursday, the Kremlin announced that Mr. Putin had kept his promise and had signed a decree making Mr. Depardieu a citizen of Russia. It still sounds like a joke - "That Russian Movie Star, Gérard Depardieu".
Jan. 6. 2013 - Gérard Depardieu departure is an unprecedented disaster for France
By Iain Alexander Depardieu has indeed ignited a debate that has rattled France to its core. If someone like him is seen as a coward who shames the nation after all he’s done, what kind of hope do people have for their future if they choose France to be their home? This debate will surely go on. People will weigh on how they feel about Depardieu, his decision to hand in his French passport, and his acceptance of Russian citizenship.
Iain Alexander: "In my view, if successful people like Depardieu are to be treated in such a manner after giving so much to their country then something is desperately wrong. To be called “pathetic” by the current government in a public forum is a disaster for France and for all it stands for. This, especially at a time when France so badly needs effective leadership to restore its values and inspire creation and success. After all, France is famed for its culture, rich history and its love of cinema and cinematic artistry. French culture and the arts are fundamental to national pride, which is beginning to fade. Thank you Gérard. Your words and your actions are the greatest gift for change, and I hope that one day France will welcome you home as a hero."
10 December 2012 - Adieu: Legendary French film star Gerard Depardieu has moved into his mansion in Belgium - just 800 yards from the border with France The 64-year-old actor's home in the village of Nechin - on a street known as Millionaire's Row - is less than two minutes drive from the French town of Roubaix. Around a third of the 2,000-strong population of Nechin was already French, the village mayor Daniel Senesael said. He added: 'He has moved in already and he is very welcome here.'
BBC News, Paris 17 December 2012 - He is "the great force of nature"...Gerard Depardieu is a big man, both in size and reputation. Marguerite Duras, who directed him in two of his films, once described him as "a big, beautiful runaway truck of a man" His work rate in Europe is ferocious: more than 180 film and TV credits since he began in 1970, including Cyrano de Bergerac, Jean de Florette and The Return of Martin Guerre. That's four-and-a-half films a year for four decades.
Jan. 3, 2013 - HuffPost Celerity - As Depardieu's criticism of the proposed tax roiled his country, French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called him "pathetic." Depardieu responded angrily in an open letter. "I have never killed anyone, I don't think I've been unworthy, I've paid €145 million ($190 million) in taxes over 45 years," the 64-year-old actor wrote. "I will neither complain nor brag, but I refuse to be called 'pathetic'"
France's debt burden is around 90 percent of national income — not far off levels that have caused problems elsewhere in the 17-country eurozone. Depardieu is not the only high-profile Frenchman to object to the super tax. Bernard Arnault — chief of the luxury goods and fashion giant LVMH and worth an estimated $41 billion — has said he would leave for Belgium.
"You have to understand that Depardieu is a star in Russia," Vladimir Fedorovski, a Russian writer living in France, told the Europe 1 network on Thursday. "There are crowds around Depardieu. He's a symbol of France. He's a huge ambassador of French culture."
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