French Feminists Decry and Vow to Protest César Awards’ New Ceremony President Roman Polanski

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All Is Lost' Premiere - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival
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The red carpet at next month’s César Awards might feature more than the usual assortment of movie-making actors, directors, and professionals schmoozing and posing for the cameras. According to The Hollywood Reporter, now that director Roman Polanski has been named the president of ceremonies for the French film honor, feminist organization d’Osez le Feminisme is vowing to protest outside the venue and boycott the televised ceremony. “The appointment of Roman Polanski is an outrageous act to the many victims of rape and sexual assault,” the organization wrote in a press release. They argued that Polanski’s career as a filmmaker does not excuse his past actions: “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.

Polanski pleaded guilty in 1977 to charges that he raped a 13-year-old-girl in the United States, but he fled the country before he could be sentenced. The supreme court of his native Poland denied the government’s attempts to extradite the director to America, and France has no extradition treaty with the U.S. As the president of ceremony, Polanski will be tasked with giving a speech before a host takes over to do fun skits and introduce specific awards. The French Minister of Women’s Rights Laurence Rossignol echoed the organizers from d’Osez le Feminisme, saying she found the academy’s choice to elect Polanski “shocking.”

Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay, however seemed to defend the French Academy’s decision as an independent organization. “The case will continue to haunt Roman Polanski the rest of his life,” she said. “But he nevertheless remains a filmmaker of great talent who has since been honored with multiple Césars. This is what is at issue in the choice made by the Academy.”

Feminists Decry César Awards’ New Pres Polanski