roman polanski quits as president of france's top film awards after feminist protests
The director — who pled guilty to and was convicted of raping a 13 year old girl in 1978 — was announced as president of the Cesar Awards last week, but has quit after a French feminist group planned to protest and boycott the TV channel broadcasting...
Roman Polanski has quit as president of France's 'Oscars', the Cesar Awards, after feminist group d'Osez le Feminisme announced their plans to protest the event and boycott both the awards and CanalPlus, the channel screening them.
After Polanski's appointment was announced last week, d'Osez le Feminisme wrote in a press release: "We are nauseated. The appointment of Roman Polanski is an outrageous act to the many victims of rape and sexual assault." This statement refers to his 1978 conviction for raping a 13 year old girl, to which he admitted and pleaded guilty, but fled the US to France — which has no extradition agreement with the US — before he could be charged.
Hollywood has a strange history with the case, with many high-profile figures suggesting that the director's work eclipses the rape. When he was arrested while traveling to a film festival in Switzerland in 2009 to accept a lifetime achievement award, over 100 top directors and actors signed a petition stating that it "seems inadmissible to them that an international cultural event, paying homage to one of the greatest contemporary film-makers, is used by police to apprehend him." To those making similar suggestions about this latest development, d'Osez le Feminisme say: "We reply that the quality of his filmography has little do with the crime he committed, his flight, and his refusal to assume his responsibilities."
France's minister for women's rights Laurence Rossignol also spoke out about his appointment, THR reports, saying it was "surprising and shocking" and that, "The choice testifies, on behalf of those who decided to appoint him president of the Cesars, of an indifference to the facts. It's no big deal to the organizers that Roman Polanski is being prosecuted in the United States and has committed the rape of a 13-year-old child."
As president of the ceremony, Polanski would have opened the awards with a speech, on February 24. THR reports that the director was "deeply saddened" by the planned protests.
Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Georges Biard via Wikimedia