Roman Polanski's win at French Oscars sparks fury, star storms out

Polanski chose to skip the Cesar awards ceremony because of earlier protests by women's groups denouncing the 12 nominations "An Officer and a Spy" received after a French woman brought a new rape accusation against him.

Several women have stormed out of this year's Cesar Awards in protest after filmmaker and sex offender Roman Polanski's won the Best Director category.

Instead, multiple actresses walked out, speaking out about the director's win despite the fact that he fled the United States decades ago after being convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl.

His win was met with protests immediately as some angry fans outside the venue held up signs demanding justice and more than a handful of celebrities at the ceremony got up and walked out including popular actress Adele Haenel, who has said she was sexually abused by a director between the ages of 12 and 15.

"Distinguishing Polanski is spitting in the face of all victims".

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is now in select theaters.

Prior to the Cesar ceremony, Haenel had condemned Polanski's inclusion in the nominations.

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His latest film tells the story of the Dreyfus affair, which divided France at the end of the 19th century, when a Jewish army officer was wrongly prosecuted for spying.

The film was nominated for 12 awards.

"I decided that Atchoum would not be big enough to overshadow the French cinema", she said.

In the lead-up to the awards, France's culture minister Franck Riester said award Polanski a Cesar would be "symbolically bad given the stance we must take against sexual and sexist violent".

In a statement this week, the French-Polish director said the ceremony was turning into a "public lynching". The group chanted, "We are here, we are here, even if Polanski doesn't want to, we are here". He pleaded guilty but fled the country while awaiting sentencing.

More recently, photographer Valentine Monnier accused Polanski of rape in 1975 when she was 18 years old. "Their word is denied", Celine Piques of women's activist group Osez le Feminisme said.

The film won the Jury Price at the Cannes Film Festival past year.

  • Michelle Webb