Roman Polanski will no longer preside over France’s esteemed César Awards, the country’s equivalent of the Oscars, after prompting backlash from feminist groups.
“In order not to disturb the César ceremony, which should be centered on cinema and not on whom it chose to preside over the ceremony, Roman Polanski has decided not to accept the invitation,” Hervé Temime, a lawyer for Polanski, said in a statement.
The “Rosemary’s Baby” director famously fled the U.S. in 1977 to avoid sentencing after he pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl.
When news broke that Polanski had been asked to preside over the Césars in February, French Minister of Women’s Rights Laurence Rossignol said Polanski’s appointment was “shocking” and that it represented “an indifference to the facts.”
Meanwhile, a French feminist organization announced plans to protest the César Awards.
“We are nauseated,” a statement from d’Osez le Feminisme read. “The appointment of Roman Polanski is an outrageous act to the many victims of rape and sexual assault.”
Temime said the backlash was “based on false information” and has “deeply saddened” the director and his family.