CANNES, France (Reuters) - France\u2019s Alain Delon, set on Sunday to receive an honorary prize at Cannes that has sparked scrutiny of his views on women and same-sex couples, said in a newspaper interview that as an actor at least, he was beyond reproach. 72nd Cannes Film Festival -\u00a0Red Carpet Arrivals\u00a0- Cannes, France, May 19, 2019.\u00a0Alain Delon poses with his daughter Anouchka Delon before receiving his\u00a0honorary Palme d'Or\u00a0Award. REUTERS\/Stephane Mahe\u201cPeople can say what they want, I\u2019m used to it. But there\u2019s nothing to be said about my career. It\u2019s irreproachable,\u201d Delon, 83, was quoted as saying in the Journal Du Dimanche (JDD). One of Europe\u2019s most acclaimed actors for more than five decades and particularly admired in his native France, Delon has starred in films including Luchino Visconti\u2019s \u201cThe Leopard\u201d, which won the top prize at Cannes\u2019 cinema showcase in 1963. But he has also inflamed public opinion over the years, including by declaring his friendship for far-right politician French Jean-Marie Le Pen and has admitted to slapping women. Delon stood by some of his views in the interview and said other comments attributed to him had been distorted. \u201cI\u2019m not against gay marriage, I don\u2019t care: people should do as they please,\u201d he told the JDD. \u201cBut I\u2019m against adoption by two people of the same sex.\u201d \u201cI said I\u2019d slapped a woman? Yes. And I should have added that I\u2019ve received more slaps than I\u2019ve ever given. I\u2019ve never harassed a woman in my life. They, however, harassed me a lot.\u201d Delon said was \u201cright-wing, full stop\u201d and was not a supporter of the far-right. GREAT STRIDES? In the wake of \u201cMe Too\u201d movement to demand greater respect and representation for women, which erupted following a wave of sexual harassment scandals that rocked the movie industry, the Cannes prize has prompted criticism. Melissa Silverstein, the founder of women\u2019s advocate group Women and Hollywood, called out the Cannes festival for honoring \u201cthese abhorrent values\u201d with Delon\u2019s prize. An online petition launched from the United States decrying the award had by Sunday reached just over 25,500 signatories. \u201cThe festival has really tried to make great strides with their organization and ... this year they doubled the number of women in competition,\u201d said Rhona Richford, a Hollywood Reporter journalist based in France. \u201cAnd so I think that doing that on one hand and turning around and giving this just shows an error in judgment.\u201d Cannes festival organizers defended their choice, saying Delon was \u201cnot perfect\u201d but was being recognized for his acting career. The ceremony will take place later on Sunday. Slideshow (3 Images)\u201cWe\u2019re not giving him the Nobel Peace Prize,\u201d festival director Thierry Fremaux told a news conference earlier in the week. Some fellow actors also came to Delon\u2019s defense. \u201cWhat Alain Delon says is his own business, whether we agree with him or not,\u201d said French actress Virginie Ledoyen, who is President of the jury handing out Cannes\u2019 \u201cQueer Palm\u201d award for LGBT-relevant films this year. \u201cHe\u2019s a magnificent actor who really shaped cinema.\u201d Reporting by Sarah White and Johnny Cotton, editing by Louise HeavensOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.