Actress Adèle Haenel storms out of César awards as convicted child rapist Roman Polanksi wins Best Director

Several actresses have walked out of the César awards ceremony in Paris, known as the “French Oscars”, after Roman Polanski won best director.

Polanski who was convicted of the statutory rape of a 13 year old in 1977 after fleeing from America. He has since faced other accusations of sexual assault.

Polanski's An Officer and a Spy received 12 nominations, which caused the 2020 ceremony to be marred in controversy, with feminist groups calling for a boycott. Polanski and members of his crew did not attend the event.

Dramatic footage has emerged of actress Adèle Haenel, who has said she was sexually abused as a child by another director, walking out of the ceremony after Polanski's win was announced.

She is heard saying "shame!", and was followed by director Céline Sciamma.

Actress and comedian Florence Foresti, who was presenting at the ceremony, did not return to the stage after Polanski's award was announced. She later updated her Instagram story to a black screen with the word "disgusted".

Why honour Polanski?

The decision to nominate the director has been highly controversial. The César's entire board resigned earlier this month amid the backlash, but the ceremony defended its position, saying they shouldn’t take “moral stances” on nominees.

This is not the first time the César awards have faced controversy because of the disgraced director. In 2017, he was picked to head the awards' jury, but later stepped down after the move sparked outrage.

It’s not just the César awards, either.

Polanski’s film won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 2019. In 2002 he was awarded Best Director at the Academy Awards, but couldn’t attend the ceremony due to the charges against him in the US.

Given that this was the his first film since the MeToo movement, many had thought that the reaction might be different.

But clearly there's still a long way to go.


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