May 19, 2014 11:33 AM EDT

Former International Monetary Fund leader Dominique Strauss-Kahn plans to to sue the filmmakers behind a movie in which French screen legend Gérard Depardieu plays a sex addict who rapes a hotel maid.

Though Abel Ferrara’s film Welcome to New York screened with a legal warning asserting that it is a work of fiction, Strauss-Kahn’s lawyer Jean Veil told Europe 1 radio on Monday that the movie was defamatory because the film’s sexual assault closely resembled previous allegations against his client, Reuters reports. Strauss-Kahn left the IMF in 2011 after a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault, though the criminal charges were dropped after Strauss-Kahn and the maid settled a civil case.

“This happened three years ago and he was cleared,” Veil said. “He is frightened, sickened [by the movie]. He has instructed his lawyers, myself, to make a complaint for defamation based on accusations of rape, on the insinuations made throughout this film.”

Ferrara defended his movie to Reuters while attending the Cannes Film Festival, where the film screened (though it is not officially competing).

“I’m an artist, I have freedom of speech,” Ferrara said. “I’m from America I’m from the country of the free, land of the free and home of the brave.


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