Several actresses staged a walkout as Roman Polanksi was awarded at the César awards, (which are referred to as the French Oscars). Polanski’s An Officer and a Spy (J’accuse in French) received 12 nominations.
When his name was announced as the winner of the Best Director award, Adéle Haenel Portrait of a Lady on Fire actor who was nominated for Best Actress staged a walk out in protest.
A l’annonce du César de la Meilleure Réalisation pour Roman Polanski (“J’accuse”), Adèle Haenel quitte la salle.
— CANAL+ (@canalplus) February 28, 2020
The film, a French Italian historical drama eventually won three awards. Polanski, who fled the US in a bid to escape being prosecuted for the rape of a 13-year-old in 1978, has been accused of rape by another actress. Valentine Monnier has told the ‘Le Parisien’ that in 1975 Polanski ‘violently raped her’. The publication, according to Variety, “also spoke with several people who offered corroboration, saying she had told them of the incident shortly afterward. Polanski is not facing any legal action in France over this alleged rape since the country has a 20-year statute of limitations.”
The BBC reports that “César’s entire board resigned earlier this month amid the backlash. A general meeting is set to be held after the ceremony to elect a new board, which will look at implementing reforms and modernising the institution. France’s equality minister, Marlène Schiappa, had previously condemned the decision to nominate Polanski’s film, saying she found it “impossible that a hall gets up and applauds the film of a man accused of rape several times”. But the Césars defended the nominations, arguing that the body “should not take moral positions” in giving awards.”
Polanski was a no-show at the award because he reportedly did not want to be ‘lynched’ by feminists.