The surprise move comes amid the actor’s ongoing row with Ayrault’s Socialist government over the proposed 75% tax rate on individuals making more than €1 million a year.
One of France’s most successful film stars, Depardieu has already announced that he is moving to Belgium and renouncing his French citizenship to avoid this absurdly high new tax bracket.
In an interview with De Standaard, a Belgian newspaper, Depardieu laid down the gauntlet against the government’s “red oppression”:
“This coward Ayrault continues to hide behind journalists and television cameras. I’ve tried several times to call him directly by telephone, but the imbeciles in his office refuse to put me though, saying he has ‘more important business.’ ”
“What can be more important than attending to the needs of a national cultural icon? A hero of the stage and screen? I don’t believe his excuses for a minute. He is coward and he is hiding form confrontation because he knows he will lose.”
Cyrano de Néchin
Depardieu then doubled down on his rhetoric and challenged Ayrault to a face-to-face showdown:
“Through my many award-winning historical film roles, I have become skilled at the art of the sword. I challenge this King of Marxism to a duel. I am a generous man. I will give him one month to prepare before he faces my blade.”
“If I win, his government will rescind its conficatory taxes. If the coward Ayrault wins, I will personally sing the communist anthem L’Internationale on national television.”
In a written statement Ayrault says that Depardieu’s challenge is ‘rediculous’ and that he should pay whatever amount of taxes the government decides:
“Mr. Depardieu fails to understand that his wealth does not belong to him. The state owns all the wealth in a nation and decides who get gets what. If I decide that he should pay 90% of his wealth to the state, then that’s what he should pay. This is how democracy works.”
“It is outrageous this rich, fat actor would flee the country just to pay less in taxes. His salary pays for hundreds of low-level government workers making over €100,000 a year.”
“What are they supposed to give their children for Christmas? An iPod mini? Quelle horreur!. Everyone in this country deserves a full-sized iPad paid for by a rich person. Its a fundamental human right, and it is scandalous Depardieu will be depriving his countryman of this revenue.”