Salma Hayek is raising a lot of eyebrows today, but this time it’s not her stunning beauty or curvacious bikini body that’s triggering strong reactions. The Mexican-born actress was named a Knight of the Legion of Honor by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with creating the merit award in 1802 to honor exemplary military and civilian service in France. The ceremony where Hayek will be given the medal will take place some time in the next two months at the Elysee Palace in Paris, according to People magazine.
French newspapers and tabloids have reported that Hayek’s award has sparked widespread bewilderment and criticism from French citizens. The Daily Telegraph outlined that some in France have accused Sarkozy of having political motivations in advance of presidential elections. The tabloid also pointed out that Hayek’s husband, French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, is close friends with Sarkozy. The fact that Salma Hayek’s tycoon father in law, also named Francois Pinault, will join her on the list of honorees helps to fuel the controversy.
Even one of the honorees turned down the award in disgust of his fellow co-knights to be. Henri Torre, the 78-year-old former minister and member of Mr. Sarkozy’s ruling UMP party, said: “Too many people were nominated who do not deserve to me honored”, adding that the awards had “lost their value”.
Comedians have also reacted to news of Hayek’s knighting. Kathy Griffin writes on Twitter, “Just heard Salma Hayek will get a knighthood from France. Not sure if it’s going 2 her left breast or right breast.”
Other Hollywood stars have received the Legion of Honor award in the past, however it’s highly questionable if Hayek ranks among previous honorees such as Clint Eastwood, Marlene Dietrich, Robert Redford, Jerry Lewis and Robert De Niro.
Salma Hayek is currently promoting “Puss in Boots”, a film in which she provides the voice for a character called Kitty Softpaws.