Jane Birkin defends Serge Gainsbourg

Jane Birkin defends late lover Serge Gainsbourg against claims he was the ‘Weinstein of songs’ saying his accuser is ‘bitter’ and that he shouldn’t be judged against the standards of today’s #MeToo era

  • Jane Birkin, 73, was in a relationship with Serge Gainsborug from 1968-1980
  • In October French singer Lio claimed Gainsbourg was the ‘Weinstein of songs’ 
  • Birkin defended Gainsbourg, saying he shouldn’t be judged by today’s standards
  • Added Lio must be ‘very bitter about something’ to accuse Gainsbourg 

British actress and singer Jane Birkin has defended her late lover Serge Gainsbourg against claims he was the ‘Harvey Weinstein of songs’. 

Birkin, 73, was in a relationship with French singer-songwriter Gainsbourg from 1968 to 1980 and provided the orgasmic moans heard on his controversial track Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus. 

In October French singer Lio made headlines when she claimed former collaborator Gainsbourg, who died in 1991, was ‘quite simply a harasser’, ‘not cool with girls’ and was the ‘Weinstein of songs’. 

Speaking to The Times today, Birkin defended Gainsbourg, saying he shouldn’t be judged against the standards of the #MeToo era and claiming Lio must be ‘bitter about something’.   

British actress and singer Jane Birkin has defended her late lover Serge Gainsbourg against claims he was the ‘Harvey Weinstein of songs’. Pictured, the couple in 1970

‘I don’t think it equated with the Serge that any of us knew,’ Birkin said, referring to the Lio interview. ‘I know perfectly well that he wasn’t that sort of person.’

The actress was asked about an incident in 1986 when a drunk Gainsbourg appeared with Whitney Houston on a French chat show and announced that he wanted ‘to f***’ her. 

‘I think he was saying exactly what he thought,’ Birkin responded, adding: ‘You can’t judge things by other epoques, you can’t measure them by this extraordinary state that Me Too has made. 

‘He was a very honest man, so he had a tendency to say exactly what he thought. If on top of it he was plastered, even more so.’ 


Birkin (left last year) dismissed claims made by French singer Lio (right in 2004) that Gainsbourg was ‘quite simply a harasser’, ‘not cool with girls’ and was the ‘Weinstein of songs’ 

Gainsbourg was a controversial figure while alive and alluded to incest and paedophilia in his lyrics. Je T’aime… Moi Non Plu swas deemed so X-rated it was denounced by the Vatican and banned from airwaves in the UK.

A few years before the incident with Whitney Houston, Gainsbourg began fondling actress Catherine Deneuve live on air.  

Despite his behaviour, Gainsbourg became a symbol of national pride and was depicted in the media as a popular ladies’ man and an image of Sixties chic. 

Birkin was asked about an incident in 1986 when a drunk Gainsbourg appeared with Whitney Houston on a French chat show and announced that he wanted ‘to f***’ her (pictured)

Gainsbourg also groped a visibly uncomfortable Catherine Deneuve during a TV appearance in 1980 (pictured together earlier that evening)

Lio, 58, whose real name is Wanda Maria Ribeiro Furtado Tavares de Vasconcelos, spoke out in October, telling Franco-German station Arte Radio: ‘I have gone off Gainsbourg, who is quite simply a harasser. 

‘[He was] someone who was not cool with girls and who was a Weinstein of songs in a certain way.

‘Gainsbourg has become an aristocrat of French music but I am not going to pay homage to him. I have experienced for myself his behaviour that was more than specious towards young women and the real lack of respect that he had.’ 

Gainsbourg and Birkin worked on a number of projects together and had a daughter Charlotte, born in 1971, but never married.  

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