A couple of weeks ago, when I wrote about the upcoming Cesar Awards in Paris, I noted with dismay that the academy running the “French Oscars” had rewarded notorious, fugitive child rapist and pedophile Roman Polanski with a dozen nominations for his most recent film. This led to some admirable pushback from members of the European film community, particularly among women. Chief among those was Adèle Haenel, a woman who has found success in the film industry there as an actress but who has been quite vocal about the fact that she, as a child actress, had been raped by a different director when she was barely past puberty.
Well, now the Ceasar Awards have come and gone. And true to form for this crowd, they gave the Best Picture nod to Polanski, along with other awards. As you will recall, Polanski has been on the run from American law enforcement for decades after being convicted of drugging, raping and sodomizing a 13-year-old child. Efforts to extradite him back to the United States have continually failed.
The response to the announcement of this new honor was immediate. Haenel, along with other women in the audience, stood up and walked out in protest, shouting “Shame” to the assembled Academy members who had seen fit to vote for Polanski’s entry. (Fox News)
Adèle Haenel, a French actress, walked out of the César awards ceremony in Paris on Friday after Roman Polanski won an award.
The actress left the ceremony after Polanski, 86, won the award for best director. The César awards are considered France’s equivalent of the Oscars.
The awards have been marred with controversy since nominating Polanski, whose film “An Officer and a Spy” earned 12 nominations. Polanski also won for best adapted screenplay.
Haenel’s walkout was seemingly in protest to the director’s win following allegations of sexual assault, including his 1977 conviction of statutory rape of a 13-year-old.
The protests continued outside, with smoke filling the streets and people chanting condemnations of the Academy, as seen in this video from Twitter.
Scuffles break out at protest against #Polanski‘s nominations at #CesarAwards#France pic.twitter.com/xbeUO0uF5U
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) February 29, 2020
The Europeans, and particularly the French, can’t seem to shake this attitude of considering child rape as no big deal if it’s done by one of the “special people.” Of course, that’s not a strictly European attitude. It’s long pervaded Hollywood as well. You may recall that time when Whoopi Goldberg declared that what Polanski had done “wasn’t rape rape.”
For his part, Polanski continues to blame all of this on the media, claiming that they’re trying to make him out to be a monster. Trust us, Mr. Douchebag… nobody had to make you a monster. You did that yourself.
Fortunately, attitudes in the United States toward such things have been changing, albeit slowly, particularly since #MeToo arrived on the scene. And that’s as it should be. For Pete’s sake, guys. Charlie Manson was allegedly a rather talented songwriter by some accounts, but we at least had the good sense not to give him a Grammy.
On the other side of the pond, however, things are still a mess. Adèle Haenel had to overcome a horror show of a childhood trying to break into the acting business and carries the scars with her to this day. And yet those in charge of French cinema still see fit to treat Roman Polanski as if he’s somehow better than the monster that he actually is. Perhaps it will take the current generation of producers, directors and movie mogul’s over there dying off before they come to their senses.