A senior French government official is defending France’s feminist credentials after the announcement that a renowned conductor accused of sexual assault is taking the stage in Paris.

Marlene Schiappa, the secretary of state for women’s rights, acknowledged Thursday that sexism is “very deeply anchored in our society” and France has seen an “enormous backlash” against the #MeToo movement.

But she stressed that her government is waging “feminist diplomacy” and trying to lead the global fight against sexual misconduct with new laws against street harassment and cyberbullying.

She wouldn’t comment directly on the return of conductor Charles Dutoit, set to lead the National Orchestra of France on Sunday. It’s his highest-profile performance since major world orchestras severed ties with him after several women told The Associated Press in 2017 that Dutoit had sexually assaulted them.

Dutoit denies wrongdoing.

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