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Salma Hayek joins the French Legion of Honor

The Mexican actress has been appointed a "Chevalier" by President Sarkozy, prompting criticism from many.
Salma hayek pussnboots030112Enlarge
Salma Hayek, who is promoting her new film Puss in Boots, has been appointed to France's Legion of Honor. (Caroline McCredie/AFP/Getty Images)

Salma Hayek can now add "Chevalier" to her long list of credits.

The Mexican actress is among 800 people chosen by President Nicolas Sarkozy to join France's Legion of Honor, founded in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. 

The Telegraph reported that Hayek was chosen for her work as a "director, producer and active member of charitable foundations for 23 years," according to the government's official journal. Hayek will be joined by her father-in-law, billionaire and owner of entrepreneurial firm PPR Francois Pinault, who had been made a Grand Officer of the Legion as well.  

Hayek's appointment has angered many, including Henri Torre, a former minister and member of Sarkozy's UMP party. Torre, 78, turned down his Legion of Honor.

"Too many people have been nominated who do not deserve to me honored," he told the Telegraph. "They have made a mockery of this high distinction by naming any old people." He also said that the award was influenced heavily by cronyism. 

"What services has Salma Hayek rendered to France?" a reader of Le Figaro wondered, according to the Telegraph.

The Legion's inclusion of celebrities has prompted criticism in the past; Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, David Cronenberg and Steven Spielberg are among France's long list of "Chevaliers", or knights, the Huffington Post reported.

When Liza Minnelli was invited into the Legion in 2011, The New York Times commented that "the French government tends to hand out Legion of Honor medals like bonbons." 

Hayek is currently promoting her film Puss in Boots, in which she voices the character Kitty Softpaws.

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