French Film star Catherine Deneuve has apologised to victims of “odious” acts of sexual abuse after she signed a much-criticised letter saying men are being unfairly accused of sexual misconduct.

The letter, signed by 100 French women, said the wave of accusations against powerful men since the Harvey Weinstein scandal has gone too far.

The letter prompted a backlash in France and beyond.

Catherine Deneuve Catherine Deneuve (Anthony Devlin/PA)

In response, Deneuve wrote a letter, published on Monday by the daily newspaper Liberation, apologising to abuse victims.

However, she also defended her view that men are becoming victims of a “media lynching” and that the current atmosphere threatens sexual freedom.

She denounced abuse of power and called for better justice against proven abusers.

Deneuve also defended her feminist credentials, saying that she publicly backed legalising abortion in France.