Fresh off Harvey Weinstein’s conviction, the #MeToo movement is taking a stand against Roman Polanski.
The director, who ran away from America in 1978 while awaiting sentencing for unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, decided to skip France’s César Awards.
Polanski said he was scared of “lynchings” at the protests scheduled to take place outside The Paris Concert Hall, where the event took place.
The public outcry against Polanski didn’t stop his film, J’accuse (An Officer and a Spy, in English), from securing 12 nominations and taking home the award for best adapted screenplay and best costume design, reports the New York Times.
When Polanski was named ‘Best Director’, however, prominent French actress Adèle Haenel had clearly had enough, and stormed out of the venue, followed by a number of her colleagues, including Céline Sciamma, the director of Portrait of a Lady on Fire:
Haenel is at the forefront of the #MeToo movement in France and has spoken out about her own experiences of sexual abuse in the film industry.
“Very few” people applauded Mr. Polanski’s best director award, said Le Monde, the French newspaper.
…Ms. Haenel previously complained this month in an interview with The New York Times about his nominations.
“Distinguishing Polanski is spitting in the face of all victims,” she said. “It means raping women isn’t that bad.”
More on the motivation behind the walkout and the protests outside the venue:
The police responded to protesters by firing tear gas outside the Paris Concert Hall.
The United States considers Mr. Polanski a fugitive of justice but has been unable to secure his extradition. He has also faced other accusations of sexual assault.
In November, Valentine Monnier, a photographer, accused Mr. Polanski of raping her in 1975, when she was 18, in a ski chalet in Switzerland. He has denied the accusations.
After the César nominations were announced in January, a host of French feminist organizations said they would protest the ceremony. “If rape is an art, give Polanski all the Césars,” they said in an open letter published in a leading newspaper.
Florence Foresti, the actress and comedian who hosted the event, took a dig at Polanksi when she opened the show by welcoming “predators” in the audience, noting that there would be “12 moments when we’re going to have an issue”, thereby alluding to his 12 nominations. She refused to come back on stage after he won Best Director.
Even Franck Riester, France’s culture minister, said that if Polanski won Best Director, it would be “a bad symbol given we must all be aware of the need to fight against sexual violence and sexism”.
The cast and production team that worked on J’accuse, all boycotted the event in solidarity with Polanski.
All considered, I’m with #MeToo.
Vive La France – montrer qu’avec des voix on peut faire une révolution.
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