Roman Polanski to Skip French Oscars in Wake of Rape Allegation

The director is accused of raping an 18-year-old in 1975

Roman Polanski
Roman Polanski took home the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival for his film "An Officer and a Spy." (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
By Bonnie Stiernberg / February 27, 2020 9:58 am

As the Associated Press reports, director Roman Polanski will be a no-show at the Cesars — the French equivalent to the Oscars — this year after women’s rights groups called for a boycott of the ceremony in light of a new rape allegation against the filmmaker.

Polanski told the AP that the protests amounted to “a public lynching,” and he addressed the rape claim by saying, “Fantasies of unhealthy minds are now treated as facts. We know ahead of time how this evening will play out.”

Valentine Monnier, a 62-year-old French woman, claims Polanski raped her at his chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland in 1975 when she was just 18 years old. The director “firmly contests” the allegation, though he remains a fugitive since he fled the United States after being charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in a separate incident in 1977.

Polanski’s film An Officer and A Spy, leads this year’s nominations at the Cesars. It chronicles the anti-Semitic persecution of French army Capt. Alfred Dreyfus in the 1890s. Polanski told the Associated Press that he’s skipping the ceremony to protect his colleagues, wife and children, adding that the awards “have no place for a film whose subject is defending truth and fighting injustice, blind hate and anti-Semitism.”

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