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'French Oscars' Spark Outrage With 12 Polanski Nominations

The director has been accused of multiple sexual assaults
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2020 2:04 PM CST
In this May 2, 2018 file photo, director Roman Polanski appears at an international film festival, where he promoted his latest film, "Based on a True Story," in Krakow, Poland.   (AP Photo, file)

(Newser) – Roman Polanski has sparked outrage anew with his latest film, An Officer and a Spy, which was just nominated for a dozen high-profile film awards in France. The Polish-born director, who fled the US after admitting to raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977, is "an abuser and rapist on the run," according to those protesting Polanski's nominations in the Césars, which the Guardian calls the French equivalent of the Oscars. Vanity Fair notes Polanski scored the most nominations of anyone, and that he just won best director Monday at France's version of the Golden Globes, the Lumières Awards. "Have we learned nothing from #MeToo?" a feminist campaign group tweeted. "When in the US, [Harvey] Weinstein is risking life in prison, when in France Adèle Haenel breaks the omerta on the impunity of rapists in cultural life, the Césars acclaim a child abuser and rapist on the run?"

The tweet refers to Haenel, the French actress who says French director Christophe Ruggia sexually assaulted her on her first film, when she was 12; she's currently nominated for a best actress César and Ruggia has been charged over her allegations. Despite renewed controversy against Polanski after his latest accuser emerged just before Officer's November release, the film still managed to sell more than 1.5 million tickets in France even after some screenings were canceled and marketing for the film was dialed back. The head of the French film academy says it "should not take moral positions" when handing out awards. Officer also won the Silver Lion when it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, Variety reports. Since the 1977 case, Polanski has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women when they were teens or even younger (see here, here, here, here, and here for those accounts).

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