The plot behind Orange's censorship of its movie production arm


Frédérique Dumas, head of Orange Studio, the film production arm of French telecoms giant Orange and which has co-produced several major box office hits including The Artist, was called upon to abandon the funding of a biopic about the late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in order to protect the private interests of Orange CEO Stéphane Richard, according to documents obtained by Mediapart. The move was aimed as a favour for Pierre Bergé, a major shareholder of French daily Le Monde and president of its supervisory board, whose paper was at the time publishing an unflattering series of articles about Richard’s implication in a high-profile judicial investigation into suspected fraud. Dumas, who refused to abandon the coproduction project, has since lost her job. Michaël Hajdenberg reports.  

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

Until early February, Fréderique Dumas had run Orange Studio, the film production subsidiary of French telecoms giant Orange, since its creation in 2007, when it was initially launched under the name of Studio 37. In that time she led a series of successful projects, including the coproduction of The Artist (the French film that won the most awards of any in history), The French Kissers (original title Les Beaux Gosses), Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life (original title Gainsbourg vie héroïque) and Welcome.