Backlash forces Roman Polanski to withdraw from César Awards

26 January, 2017, 00:39 | Author: Evan Mason

Temime continued: "However, in order not to disturb the César ceremony, which should focus on the cinema and not on the appointment of the president, Roman Polanski has decided not to accept the invitation". He has also received seven Cesar prizes, and was tapped to preside over next month's 42nd Cesar ceremony by Alain Terzian, who runs the French Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques. A petition to push Polanski out of the ceremony, where he was to give an opening speech, garnered 60,000 signatures. French minister for women's rights, Laurence Rossignol, called the Academy's decision "surprising and shocking". Morgan responded to the snub by calling McGregor a "pedophile-loving hypocrite" for his support for Polanski, with whom he worked on The Ghost Writer.

The Franco-Polish filmmaker, 43 at the time, originally denied the charges but ended up pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse, or statutory rape as part of a plea bargain under which he served 42 days and underwent psychiatric evaluation. He is still wanted by American judicial authorities and is subject to an Interpol notice in 188 countries. The backlash "devastated" Polanski, his friend Thierry Frémaux said on RTL radio, according to the Associated Press.

Polanski has won eight Cesars over his career, and won the 2003 best director Oscar for The Pianist.

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Almost forty years on, he is still considered a fugitive and can only visit France, Switzerland and Poland, since all three countries have refused to extradite him to the US.

Polanski's lawyer noted that Poland and Switzerland have rebuffed USA efforts in recent years to extradite him, and that the woman he assaulted, Samantha Geimer, has called for the US case against him to be dropped.

Samantha Geimer, the victim of the 1977 statutory rape in Los Angeles, had herself previously appealed to the USA authorities for the case to be dropped, he noted. A bid by the U.S.to have him extradited was recently rejected by Poland's supreme court.

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