Catherine Deneuve has apologised to ''all victims of odious acts who may have felt offended'' by the open letter she signed which defended men's ''freedom to importune''.

The 74-year-old actress was among more than 100 French women in entertainment who put their name to an open letter published in the Le Monde newspaper last week denouncing the #MeToo social media campaign against sexual harassment, but has now clarified her comments, admitting she dislikes ''pack mentality''.

In an open letter published by French newspaper Libération, she wrote: ''Yes, I like freedom. I don't like this characteristic of our times whereby everyone feels they have the right to judge, to arbitrate, to condemn. A time where simple denunciations on social media generate punishment, resignation and sometimes, and often, lynching by the media... I don't excuse anything. I don't decide the guilt of these men because I am not qualified to do so. And few are... No, I don't like this pack mentality. (sic)''

Catherine also hit back at people who claimed she was not a feminist, pointing out she signed a 1971 manifesto defending abortion rights.

She added: ''Abortion was punishable by criminal prosecution and imprisonment at the time.

''That is why I want to say to conservatives, racists and traditionalists of all kinds who have found it strategic to support me, I am not fooled.

''They will have neither my gratitude nor my friendship, quite the contrary. I am a free woman and I will continue to be.''

As well as coming out publicly against the #MeToo movement - which inspired Hollywood's Times Up movement against sexual harassment, sexual assault and gender bias in the entertainment industry - the original letter Catherine signed did the same against the French counterpart #Balancetonporc, which translates ''Expose Your Pig.''

The letter read: ''Rape is a crime. But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a chauvinist aggression.

''As a result of the Weinstein affair, there has been a legitimate realisation of the sexual violence women experience, particularly in the workplace, where some men abuse their power. It was necessary. But now this liberation of speech has been turned on its head.''

Several stars hit out at the letter, including Asia Argento, an actress who has accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her.

She tweeted: ''Catherine Deneuve and other French women tell the world how their interiorized misogyny has lobotomized them to the point of no return (sic)''