Actress Rosanna Arquette has joined a group of French activists urging bosses at the European Film Awards to remove Roman Polanski’s new movie from contention.
The star has added her name to a letter asking that the five nominations received by An Officer and a Spy be rescinded, to prevent the film being recognised during the upcoming ceremony on Saturday (07Dec19).
Actors Andrea Bescond and Eric Metayer, director Amandine Gay, and activist Clementine Vagne, who launched a petition to prevent Polanski from serving as president of the Cesar Awards in 2017, are among additional signatories.
The period drama, which centres on wrongfully convicted Jewish Captain Alfred Dreyfus in 19th century France, has scored nominations in each of the ceremony’s main categories, including best film, best director, and best screenwriter for Polanski, best cinematography and best actor for Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin.
“Let’s be clear. Polanski is not a pariah. He is a sex offender,” the group wrote. “The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have upended the status quo on sexual violence. It is well past time that Europe stop allowing sexual offenders like Polanski to act with impunity. Putting rapists on notice will send a clear message to victims of sexual violence and child sexual abuse: ‘We believe you, we will break the silence, and we will bring about structural change.'”
The news comes after actress Valentine Monnier accused the 86-year-old filmmaker of sexually assaulting her in 1975, when she was 18, in a Le Parisien article, published last month (Nov19), just days ahead of the movie’s premiere in Paris, France. The claim led to protests during the screening.
Polanski was arrested in 1977 and charged with raping 13-year-old Samantha Geimer. He pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of unlawful sex with a minor and served 42 days behind bars, but fled the U.S. after learning the judge was planning to renege on the plea deal and hand him a much longer sentence.
He has subsequently been accused of sexual assault or rape by several other women, including British actress Charlotte Lewis, who claims he raped her in 1983, when she was 16.
Polanski denies all of the allegations.
An Officer and a Spy premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August, when it won the Grand Jury prize.