Salma Hayek will be made a Knight of the Legion of Honor, which is France’s highest order of merit. Why is her knighthood raising so many eyebrows?
Puss in Boots actress Salma Hayek will be among the prestigious group given the Knight of the Legion of Honor in France, however many are outraged that the Hollywood actress is being given the distinguished honor.
The 45-year-old actress married French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, who founded the PPR group whose interests include Gucci and Christie’s auction house. Pinault also happens to be good friends with French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who decides who should receive the Legion of Honor.
According to the government’s official journal, Hayek was given the award as a “director and producer (and) active member of charitable foundations for 23 years.”
She is not the first Hollywood star to receive the award, as Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg and Liza Minnelli have all been knighted in France. The Legion of Honor was created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte.
Former minister Henri Torre has turned down receiving the Legion of Honor this year after he learned that Hayek, among others, would also be given the honor. “Too many people have been nominated who do not deserve to be honored,” he said. “They have made a mockery of this high distinction by naming any old people.”
One news commentator even commented that Napoleon would be “turning in his grave” if he knew who was receiving The Legion of Honor.
This isn’t the first time the honorees have been criticized, including in 1998 when the French President Jacques Chirac decorated the entire French football team after their World Cup victory.