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Roman Polanski will skip the French Oscars, anticipating a ‘public lynching’

Roman Polanski
Director Roman Polanski fears a “public lynching” if he were to attend Friday’s Césars ceremony in Paris.
(Associated Press)

Filmmaker Roman Polanski is skipping the awards ceremony for France’s equivalent of the Oscars — where his latest movie leads this year’s nominations — because of protests prompted by a new rape accusation against him.

Women’s rights activists have called for a boycott of Friday’s Césars ceremony in Paris, and plastered anti-Polanski banners and graffiti at the event venue and the César academy headquarters.

The entire male-dominated leadership of the Césars stepped down recently amid arguments over its byzantine decision making structure and how to deal with the Polanski problem.

In a statement Thursday provided to the Associated Press, the Paris-based Polanski said the ceremony was turning into a “public lynching.” Addressing the new accusation against him, he said, “Fantasies of unhealthy minds are now treated as proven facts.”

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Nearly one year after he was expelled from the ranks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, director Roman Polanski has filed suit against the organization, arguing that the academy did not follow proper procedure in ejecting him and that he should be reinstated.

“We know ahead of time how this evening will play out,” Polanski said in his statement of his now-canceled appearance at the event.

Polanski is still wanted in the United States decades after he was charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977 and then fled in 1978 before sentencing in a plea deal.

Last year, a Frenchwoman came forward to accuse Polanski of raping her in 1975. Polanski denied it, and the allegations are too old for an investigation.

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But the accusation put the director under fresh scrutiny in France, where he has long been revered as one of the country’s premier filmmakers despite the rape charge in the U.S.

Polanski’s “An Officer and a Spy (J’accuse),” which addresses anti-Semitic persecution of French army Capt. Alfred Dreyfus in the 1890s, is up for multiple Césars on Friday.

Polanski, who survived the Holocaust in Poland as a child, said this year’s awards “have no place for a film whose subject is defending truth and fighting injustice, blind hate and anti-Semitism.”

Polanski said he decided not to attend the ceremony to protect his colleagues and his wife and children.


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